The Journal: Update and Lessons Learned

In today’s Journal

* Topic: Update and Lessons Learned
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Topic: Update and Lessons Learned

Just to let you know what’s going on and share the experiece as I pull out of the doldrums, I think I’m over most of the internal stuff. Some of the external crap remains (and it’s all crap), but I have no control over that. As Barbarosa (Willie Nelson) says in the film by the same name, “The Mexicans have a saying down here: What cannot be remedied must be endured.” A more elegant version of “It simply is what it is.”

I’m anxious to get back to writing, and I expect that will happen at almost any time. Oddly enough, my biggest problem in that regard is deciding what to write. That is to say, there has been no atrophying of skill or craft (and no unreasonable “fear”), and there has been no erosion of the desire to write.

My only conscious requirement is that my next work will be a novel. I want to dive back into the deep end of the pool and tell a story that will go on. I’ve been away from my characters WAY too long. I want to bask in their company for a good while.

I have no shortage of ideas either, both new and “attached” to other series and characters I’ve written in the past. I’m not keeping track, but just today (for example) I had three new ideas:

* a guy in modern times is sitting in a bar when something big happens,
* a guy on a horse (historic western or modern) sees something in the distance that he can’t quite make out but he senses that it’s something bad, and
* a new SF genesis invasion story for a new SF series that would “feel” better to me than the one I recently wrote. (Note: This would be a completely different, separate story, albeit with the same aliens. I like them.)

And I considered writing another Stern Talbot PI mystery (my friend Kenneth Flowers really liked that guy); or maybe returning to the Nick Spalding series and continuing it, albeit with a little time-travel to move the characters from the first to the second world war; or maybe writing a sequel to my SF novel The Consensus (Kenneth also loved that one for the unique aliens, and I liked them too).

Really, honestly, I wish I had just met Wes Crowley and could write his story again. But that part of Wes’ (and my) life is far behind us now. I DO think there will be a Book 12. I need to get Wes out of his bed (he was shot) and maybe onto a boat in the Pacific.

Wes always liked the idea of the sea, partly because it reminded him so much of the seemingly endless plains of north Texas. Both the sea and those plains are vast, beautiful, and terrifyingly dangerous places. Everything in both places is designed to test your limits, and Wes craves that.

I talked a little about Wes over on my author site yesterday at, but that post was more attuned to readers. Still, you might enjoy it if you haven’t seen it.

When I glance up at the pencil drawing I mention in that post, Wes Crowley is looking back at me. His face is set and serious, and I can hear him saying, with a slight nod, “Hey, it’s all right.”

And I know what he means. As I wrote earlier, there’s maybe one more book and then it’s time (as Wes would say) to “slap open the gate and let the horses run.” Wes is my friend. I’ll miss him.

If you haven’t understood before when I say I wouldn’t dream of controlling my characters, that THEY must tell their story because they, not I, are living it, maybe you’ll understand now.

Ol’ Wes is as real to me as the guy in the mirror, and maybe moreso sometimes. And his beautiful bride, Coralín, was a force of nature in her own right. Her loss is why Wes can’t remain ashore. Like our Hobbit heroes in the Lord of the Rings, Wes’ time has gone. He needs to disappear across the sea.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to wander so deeply into that. Mostly I just wanted to let you know I’m almost back and a little about the process.

Someone asked recently whether it is (or will be) difficult to start writing again after such a long layoff. To be perfectly candid, no, it won’t. And I say that with certainty.

Why? Shrug. Because I’m a writer. I’m a storyteller. It’s what I do, day-in, day-out, with interruptions when there’s no way to avoid them.

But understand, I’m not a capital-w Writer (a calling, complete with an angelic chorus). I’m only a life-support system for a set of fingers through which my characters tell their stories.

I’m also the lucky stiff who gets to hear the stories first. Can it get any better than that?

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Trace Evidence” at A new (to me) blog that might interest some of you.

See “Ingram Upgrades Printing” at

The Numbers

Fiction words yesterday…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 870 (Journal)

Writing of (novel)

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

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 309655
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3160
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 125400
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 435055

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

4 thoughts on “The Journal: Update and Lessons Learned”

  1. Looking forward to reading your next story!

    If this were a vote, I would pick:

    * a guy on a horse (historic western or modern) sees something in the distance that he can’t quite make out but he senses that it’s something bad

    But write what you feel, Harvey! 🙂

  2. I’m so sorry you have trouble coming up with ideas… (ha!)
    It’ll be a blast to put your fingers on the keyboard and see what happens! Look forward to hearing which characters won.

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