The Journal, Tuesday, January 1

Hey Folks,

Be patient. There’s a LOT in today’s Journal and in the “Of Interest” section. I hope you will find most of it entertaining and/or useful.

Happy new year, everybody! May we all have a year filled with peace and good health. I don’t mention prosperity because, after all, we really can’t take it with us. My strongest personal urge is to live as long as I can and leave a legacy of sorts. As they say down south, can I get a big “Hell yeah!”?

Like so many, I’m personally glad 2018 is behind us. Without belaboring the point, during the year, I lost three uncles, an aunt, and two first cousins. Two of the uncles were paternal, and their loss also left me as the eldest male in the family. I don’t mind telling you that was a little startling on a whole other level.

Then to cap off the emotional roller-coaster, my lifelong friend and high school classmate Kenneth Flowers succumbed to COPD on December 29. He was at once the most intelligent, most humble, and gentlest man I’ve ever known. Frankly, I’m still reeling a little from that one.

But life, as they say, goes on.

Today I begin my challenge to write 10 novels in 100 days. A couple of the chapters I wrote in Blackwell Ops wanted to be novels, and I could easily expand them, but I don’t want to do that.

I want these 10 novels to be completely separate of that one. Some of them might be in that world and in that series (after all, it was an origin novel), but I don’t want them to be derived directly from that book.

Yesterday I wrote that

“I might revisit Nick and Marie in their pre-World War I world. Maybe with some time travel to move them to a new setting.

“I might also revisit the contemporary world of Blackwell Ops and/or a contemporary detective or PI world.” (Kenneth enjoyed my detective fiction.) “Or the magic-realism future-kingdom world stemming from the origin novel Keeper of the Promise. Or the future-Earth SF world of The Consensus.”

Kenneth, an avid reader, was particularly fond of those last two. So maybe I’ll start with one of those. At 6 a.m., I have no idea what I’ll write today.

Wow. I read a post this morning that left me shaking my head. Not at the messenger—I respect him for his point of view—but at the implied message. I included it in “Of Interest,” as it might ring true for some of you. And yes, I left a comment, briefly, then chose to make the rest of my thoughts a topic.

Topic: On Being “Offended” (not political)

It’s important that writers hold the line (no pun intended) regarding censorship. I predict that the writer who bends to the whims of people who feel it’s their “right” to demand the writer write something in a particular way (right down to word selection, including pronouns) will not be writers very long. And even if they are, they’ll appear ignorant to anyone with ears and a brain.

There, I said it. If you’re “offended,” my daily Journal probably isn’t a blog you should be reading. I’m here to help writers, not to force them to my will.

The fact is, we live in a world in which a great deal more weight is given (and wrongly so) to Perception than to Intent. If a slight is intended, shame on the speaker or writer. If it was not, shame on whoever chose to perceive wrongly and take “offense.” That person should take a course on Getting Over Yourself, and soon.

But what about the audience? Knowing your audience is important. But kowtowing to it is futile, and kowtowing to one segment of it is partisan, divisive, and self-defeating. And frankly, a little cowardly.

As all of you know, I write to entertain myself first, then those who enjoy my work. From what I can tell, those who are so wrapped up in themselves that they take “offense” at practically everything don’t read anyway, so….

I will never personally use “they” as a singular pronoun for the same reason I won’t allow any other censorship of my work. Well, that and because whether or not I “accept” and finally get used to using “they” as a singular pronoun, using it still makes me sound ignorant. It also makes me sound as if I’ve knuckled under to some Thought Police somewhere. And that just isn’t going to happen.

As to politics, I’m not going to slip into that crapshoot because it does no good. People are simply bent one way or another. I’m convinced they can’t help it. Some are the protectors and some are the protected. Thus has it ever been, and thus shall it ever be.

We used to have a saying: If you want to see who the aggressor is, look at which direction the refugees are running. Yes, I know I’m dating myself, but It’s an accurate method of assessment.

In politics, there’s a similarly useful assessment: If you want to see who’s attempting to destroy the nation and who’s attempting to save it, compare each side’s actions with their words. Compare what they say with what they do.

All that being said, I’m from the sticks-and-stones generation. We didn’t feel a need to call attention to ourselves by feigning “offense” at something that obviously was not meant to be offensive.

So today I’m likely to bust out laughing (or into authentic applause) when I see or hear someone making a complete “look-at-me” ass of themselves over a false perceived slight. And no, I’m not the slightest bit concerned that I might further offend the person with my laughter or applause. Because my INTENT is to reward an excellent performance.

Oh, but wait. Oh my, did I actually write the word “person?” I’m terribly sorry. “Person” has “son” in it, and that’s obviously masculine, so maybe I should have used “perit” instead. Yeah, I’m gonna tie myself into knots over that one. Or stitches. You know. I’ll tie myself into something. Well, or not.

No biggie. To each his (or her) own. But I do wish a certain segment of the population would find a different verb to demolish into an adjective than “woke.” Frankly, its current widespread use offends me. (I joke. Frankly I couldn’t give a sh— darn less about their foolishness.)

But they really should get a clue. Until they’ve woke suddenly to the sound of a fire alarm or a dispatcher’s call to race into harm’s way, or to disentangle themselves from a sleeping bag and grab a rifle to keep someone from REALLY being “offended” with flames or a knife or a bullet, they don’t really understand what “woke” means.

And I’ll probably continue to not take their ranting demands too seriously. As for offending them, I don’t have time to do so intentionally. And I wouldn’t bother anyway. Frankly, I wouldn’t give them the time of day if my middle finger was a watch. (grin)

Although I didn’t write anything yesterday, I got a ton of work done.

I revised the cover for Consequences so it LOOKS like action-adventure instead of teen-queen romance. See I didn’t revise the elements of the cover though. I got lazy. I didn’t want to have to revise the elements on the other three in the series, so….

Then I created a cover (with the new knowledge I gained re covers from the cover lecture I took) for Situation Solved and for Blackwell Ops. The difference is amazing.

I also got both of those published for pre-orders. Situation Solved will be released on February 15, and Blackwell Ops will be released on March 1. I added those to the site this morning. Yeah, I’m releasing the second one only two weeks after the first, but I’m currently involve in a challenge to write 10 more in 100 days. (grin)

You can see and read about Situation Solved at and you can see and read about Blackwell Ops at

Finally I updated the universal link for both to include Amazon and Smashwords. So that’s done until I write more stuff.

Which I’m about to do. (grin)

From about 2:30 for a little over 2 hours I wrote the stuff above, fiddled with my website, and found the “Of Interest” items. Now to the house for a break, then back here to write.

At 5:20, I returned to the Hovel and wrote more of the stuff above this. Then at a little after 6, I decided to set up my 2019 Annual Production spreadsheet and relegated the 2018 spreadsheet to my Old Stuff folder. How quickly it passes….

Undaunted, finally, at 6:45 I started the search for the subject of my next novel. (grin)

At about 7:15 I hit on an idea (a photo and the one word it evoked: farmhand) and started writing. So at least I already have cover art and a title for this novel. (grin) Now all I have to do is the fun part: write it.

About 7:45, having written a 600 word opening that seems to want to be a novel, I headed up to the house to change clothes and start the day.

8:15 a.m., back in the Hovel and back to the novel.

Well, with the back and forth, I only got a little over 1600 new words total, but it’s a start, and I’m already excited about this first novel. So I’ll take it. (grin)

My bride’s home today, there’s college football on the TV, and there’s a pot full of blackeyed peas waiting.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Via Tony Decastro, see “Default pronouns for the modern writer” at I do recommend some of the topics in David Galloway’s blog, though I don’t recommend taking this particular one seriously.

See “2019 Book Industry Predictions: The Butterflies Will Flap Their Wings” at A long but excellent post.

See “Thank You, Dear Friends: 2018, a Super Tough Year, is Almost Behind Me” at

See “Damn It All” at

See “2019 Publishing Predictions from Agent Laurie McLean” at I like the Passive Guy’s take.

See “Local children’s book authors find new ways to reach readers” at

See “Free Fiction Monday: Dragon Slayer” at

See “Roundup of 2018 Goals and What’s New For 2019” at

And finally, if you use Scrivener (I don’t), via Linda Maye Adams see “How To Change The Editor Font In Scrivener For Windows” at For me personally, Microsoft Word is the perfect writing tool. (I much preferred the old WordPerfect, back when it was worth a flip.)

Fiction Words: 1628
Nonfiction Words: 1721 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3349

Writing of The Farmhand (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 1628 words. Total words to date…… 1628

Total fiction words for the month……… 1628
Total fiction words for the year………… 1628
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1721
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1721
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 3349

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date………………………… X
Calenday Year 2019 Novellas to Date…………………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date……… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 37
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 193
Short story collections…………………………………………………… 31

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Tuesday, January 1”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout of sorts, Harvey.

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said although my post may have made that impression. Pretty much the only time I actually use singular they is in technical writing at my day job where repeated instances of “he or she” in a situation where information is redacted is clunkier than using they, but in my fiction I would never do such a thing or use invented pronouns like ze/zir, etc. I’m pretty much in agreement with Jordan Peterson on this point:

    • Thanks for commenting, David. Actually, it WAS a shoutout. (grin) Not the topic so much, but the reference in “Of Interest.” I also added your blog to Writers References over on my big site at You’re in pretty good company over there. That was a result of looking over other posts on your site and finding them valuable.

      On the other, I understand. I think you mentioned in your post that you use “they” as singular only in writing for your day job. But over here I’m directly addressing fiction and fiction writers, so I bent the topic in that direction. (Actually, in emails and other nonfiction writing I often use s/he, primarily to save time. [grin] Of course, that doesn’t help when I reach the objective him/her part so….)

      I suppose we could create “himmer” or “herim” for the objective case singular androgynous pronoun. But even without the addition of only one letter, the former might conjur up memories of the Nazis. And the second is a near-homophone for “harem,” which of course would open up a whole new bag of worms. So maybe not. (grin)

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