Archive | November, 2013

Revolutionary Growth As Writers

29 Nov

003I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday….and Happy Friday to you all!  The weekend is upon us…the blessed weekend.  What are you going to do?  Resting sounds good to me right now.

I’m writing this on Wednesday, and as soon as I finish this post I’m going to get busy on my new novel. I don’t know what the name of it is yet; my working title is “The Coffee Shop Quixote” but I’m sure that will change in time.

Today I’m doing something I rarely do and that is go back and do some fill in.  I usually write the novel first and then go back on the 2nd write and fill in character descriptions and scenes, but I’ve got a wild hair this morning about one part of the book, and I’m not going to be happy until I go back and fix that section up a bit….I have a vision of a scene and I need to write it while I still have it, if that makes any sense.


I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life, but I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.
Steve Jobs

Too bad he died. I think it would have been cool to sit down and have a chat with Jobs and pick his brain. Some of his quotes really move and inspire me. This quote for example; I love how it fits in with writing.  I can see it in my own writing. I will make incremental improvements based on accepted writing theory, and then I’ll say “to hell with it” and head off in an illogical direction and just see what happens.

And yes, there will be those who tell me that I failed and I’ll be honest, it hurts when I hear those words….but I am secure enough in my talent to know those folks are a minority and that I actually do “have game” with regards to writing.

So the message of the day is always keep improving.  Improve in small ways and take a chance in big ways….and, like my father used to say, always keep moving forward.


Say hello to my friend Suzette and her blog. You can find it here.  I’ve known Suzette on HubPages for quite some time. She is a former teacher who is quite knowledgeable about authors and the classics.  I’m sure you will find her interesting and informative….and loyal.



Enjoy it ….feel it….use it to practice with….write one paragraph describing it….and above all have fun.


Have a great weekend and thank you for being here.  Do something special for yourselves this weekend.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Reason For Writers To Be Thankful

26 Nov

003Happy Tuesday to you all, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

And that happens to be the subject of today’s blog.  With a short week I’m not sure how many blogs I’ll be doing, so I thought I better get the thanks out of the way now….well, not out of the way but….well, you know.

How was that for an awkward sentence from a supposedly professional writer?  LOL


When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

Wise man that Tecumseh!

For those of you who are writers, and I’m pretty sure you all are, consider this:  we are incredibly blessed to be doing what we are doing.

My dad worked in a sand & gravel pit for twenty years and died when he was forty-nine.  I know people who have worked in coal mines. My grandparents worked 120 acres of corn in Iowa.  You want to talk about hard work?

And then there is me.  I get to write for a living.  I get to create sentences and phrases and paragraphs, and then I get to send them out to the world in a continual legacy.  Long after I am physically dead my writing will live on, and my words will provide comfort or information or inspiration for thousands of people in future generations.

How cool is that?


Find the passion in your writing. Writing should be all about passion. It should be all about the love of the written word.  It should be an extension of who we are as human beings.  It is communication and exclamation, exhalation and exultation.  Again, how cool is that?


Thanks to all of you.  It has been popular this month for writers to list all the things they are thankful for. I don’t have a list in me. I am thankful for life and since you are a part of that life then you are included.

This life is a gift.  If one treats it as anything less than a gift then one needs a serious reality check.

You are all an extension of my writing. Through knowing you all my writing has grown with brilliant hues and dazzling textures, and that is a gift as well for which I am grateful.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Using History In Our Fiction

21 Nov

odds and ends in Feb 2012 007And here we are; another Thursday is upon us and that means another lesson or two about writing.

Since I am writing a novel right now that incorporates a lot of history, I thought we would talk about historical fiction and a writer’s freedom regarding history.

First a quote to get us started.


The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
Mark Twain

I’m sure that applies in some way.  LOL

When writing historical fiction, the key word to pay attention to is fiction.  Our primary goal is to tell a good story.  There mere fact that our novel or story is fiction means we have some freedom with facts.  Yes, we can stay true to actual events that happened, but we have great room to stretch out in and move about in when writing our story.

I have no problem at all saying that I met Bill Gates in my novel.  I’m sure Mr. Gates won’t mind, and I in no way am altering the “truth” about history when I do that.  Considering the fact that much of written history is subjectively written leaves me feeling fine with my creative license.

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, our number one goal when writing fiction is to tell a great story.  Keep that in mind while you write and don’t shackle yourself with concerns over the “truth” about history.


Remember that there is a huge difference between fiction and fantasy; this is a point worth considering if you write historical fiction.  My goal in historical fiction is not to change history; my goal is to use history as a backdrop for my story.

If you are writing fantasy then considerations about factual history can be tossed aside; not so with historical fiction.  I research before I write about an event in my novel. I want to stay true to actual events that happened.  It is a distinction worth noting and remembering.


If you are a Civil War buff then pick up a book by Bruce Catton.  He won a Pulitzer for his historical fiction about that war and he is a master at that genre…or he was…he’s dead. J


I thought I would share a blog from another friend of mine today.  Her name is Bobbi and she has a “favorite recipe” blog that is quite interesting.  Here it is.


What do you see? How does it make you feel? Remember when we are writing that feelings are a strong appeal for readers.  Tap into their feelings and you will have a follower for life.


How are you doing with your novel?  Making progress?  I can tell you my process if that is any help.  I basically write the bare bones of my novel on the first writing. When that is done I go back and fill in. I expand on character descriptions and scenes, and I also fill in with lengthier pontifications about points I feel are important.

I do this because I don’t like interrupting the flow of the story on that first write.  Once the entire story is told, then I don’t have to worry so much about the rhythm of the story while I backfill areas that need more attention.

I hope that helps. Have a great day y’all and I’ll be back with more tips next Tuesday.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Raising The Yardstick Of Quality

19 Nov

003And thank you for returning to the show that never ends….well, okay, it will end when I’m old and feeble and unable to peck away at these keys, but you get the point.

So, today’s subject is……drum roll…..quality over quantity!

Much has been written about NaNoWriMo as November is Write A Book Month, and in truth I applaud this movement for encouraging writers to get started on that novel that has been sitting in the cobwebs of their brain for so long….but…..

Writing a novel in a month is certainly possible as many have done it.  Writing a quality novel in a month is a different story altogether….pun intended.

A book should not be rushed.  Great writers will struggle for days over the perfect sentence.  Imagine how long a good writer will struggle over 100,000 words.

I encourage everyone who thinks they have a book in them to write that book; I also encourage all of you to make that book the best damn book possible.


Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
Steve Jobs

There I go being a writing snob again, but at least Steve Jobs agreed with me.

I don’t care if you are writing a book, writing articles on HubPages or writing daily blogs.  Be a yardstick of quality.  The world has enough mediocre already; please raise the yardstick for others to follow.


In my continued effort to give some much needed praise to poets, here is another site of a friend who dabbles seriously in poetry.  Say hello to Audrey and her “Alive And Well” blog featuring her original poetry. You can find it here.


Café Writers Open Poetry Competition.  Deadline is the end of November. Find it here.



It’s been rainy outside here in Olympia and the wimp in me has prevented me from going out and taking new pictures. Here is an old one that might prompt you to write something of quality.


If you are considering publishing a book, make sure you have someone else edit it.  Yes, it costs money to have a professional editor do the job, but that money spent will pay back dividends in the long run.  How much for an editor?  Depends on the size of your book; you can pay upwards of $1,000 or more.  If you follow this blog I will do it for less.  Get in touch with me if that is something you would be interested in.


Best wishes on your writing endeavors the rest of the week.  Remember, whatever you are working on, make it the best it can be.  The world needs more quality.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

An Appreciation For Poetry and the Love of Writing

14 Nov

003And a very Happy Thursday to you all.  Shall we begin?

I greatly admire poets and let me tell you why.  While so many of us scramble to rack up as many views as we can, and earn our passive income on HubPages and other sites, poets just write for the passion of writing.  They have very little hope of garnering tons of views; they have very little hope of making passive income; and they have very little hope of having their poems published, or at least less hope than writers who chase after other genres.

Still they write.   They write for the love of writing.  They write because poetry is in their hearts and souls.  I admire that. I truly wish I had the poet gene in me because beautiful poetry is soothing and peaceful and Lordy, does this world ever need more soothing and peaceful.

Let me share a quote with you and then I’ll get to the whole point of this seemingly aimless rambling of mine.


Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
T. S. Eliot

LOL….I love that quote.  I guess I must be missing the personality and emotions necessary to write poetry.

Now on to my point.  It saddens me at times that so many writers spend so much effort and time trying to find ways to make money.  I have been in contact with some who are constantly stressing over the lack of money, and they scramble to find new ways to generate an income from writing…..but…..what falls by the wayside in that quest is writing just for the sake of writing.

Don’t ever let that happen.  We are writers because we love the art of writing. Never lose sight of that fact because once the love is gone this just becomes another job….and that would be sad.


My friend Christy has a blog called Poetic Parfait and I invite you to take a look at it.  You can find it here.  Christy is one of those poets I spoke about earlier, and if you want to partake in a bit of beauty this morning, give her a visit.  Besides, she is just good people. J


The Charles Causley Poetry Competition is currently taking submissions. This is a renowned international poetry competition so check it out here.



Sing “Tommy” while you look at this picture…see me, feel me, touch me….ooooooh, I’m getting turned on. LOL


So you want to be a poet, eh?  Remember the five senses.  Use them in descriptions….us similes…use metaphors….as John Lennon was fond of saying, “turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.”


Well, that’s a bit vague, isn’t it?  I’ll be back with more tips on this blog next Tuesday. Of course, if it is writing tips you want then it is writing tips you will get three times a week on my HubPages site.  Stop by, say hi and get high on the art of writing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Self-Promotion Is A Balancing Act

12 Nov

003And a very Happy Tuesday to you all!  Today I want to talk about self-promotion.  First, a quote.


Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!
P. T. Barnum

I get a kick out of that quote and old P.T. was right…without promotion and marketing very little good can happen.  Of course, isn’t he the same one who said there was a sucker born every minute? So I guess we take the good with the bad with regards to P.T. LOL

There is no doubt that writers need to be their own marketing department. Unless a writer is lucky enough to have a publisher and agent, the marketing chores fall squarely in the lap of the writer himself.  There is no avoiding it.  If you are to be known then you need to make yourself known.

However…..and there is always a however now isn’t there…..beware of over-promotion.  Speaking as a person who spends a great deal of time online, over-promotion is a turn-off of the highest order for most readers.   If the only time I hear from someone is when they have something of their own to sell, well, I’m not going to be very receptive to their sales pitch.

Let me give you a real-life example.  I have a hard copy novel and seven ebooks published.  I rarely talk about them. When I first published my novel I spent about two weeks mentioning it; it’s been two years now and there is no reason for me to continue ringing my own bell.  It is boring and it is egotistical and I don’t want to be accused of either.  If someone wants it fine; if not, also fine.  I have bigger goals than that novel or those ebooks, and I have a much stronger desire to support other writers. My rewards will come in time and there is no reason to risk annoying the hell out of people by continually self-promoting.

The bottom line of this little diatribe:  walk a fine line between promotion and over-promotion. Choosing wisely might make a big difference in the long run with regards to your career as a writer.


It’s my email address.  Part of my professional writing services is a writing evaluation.  If you want a five point writing evaluation of your skills as a writer, drop me a line at and for $25 I’ll give you an unbiased and totally objective opinion of your writing abilities.


It’s my email address. If you want advice or help, write me at  I’ll be more than happy to help in any way that I can and as always there is no charge.  Friends help friends; writers should help writers.



Go ahead. Get into this picture. What do you see? Describe it using your five senses.


My article on HubPages tomorrow will be a writing exercise in describing characters.  Stop in and give it a look; you should find it helpful.

Until then, have a great week of writing and feel good about what you are doing. The world needs more writers and you are part of a wonderful tradition.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Taking Chances As A Writer

7 Nov

003Welcome back and Happy Thursday my friends! What shall we talk about today?  I know…how about taking chances?


I believe in taking chances and living your life. Sometimes doors open and others close and you have to figure out which one you’re going to take. I’m always for the one that’s challenging.
Gisele Bundchen

Rarely does a day go by when I am not approached by someone who says their writing career is going nowhere and they don’t know what to do about it.  Well I know the one thing you shouldn’t do and that is to remain stagnant.

What is the worst thing that can happen if a new idea does not work out?  It fails!  Oh well!  We will never know if a new approach will work unless we work it.

This new online world is a learning ground for us all.  Half the time I don’t have a clue what I am doing, but I keep doing something in hopes that I’ll hit the mother lode and find success.  I keep trying new angles. My new Exploring the Back Roads series is an example.  Who knows if a collaborative effort of travel articles will help or not? I certainly don’t know, but there is only one way to find out and that is do it.

One of my best writing buddies is Mike Pugh, or Cloud Explorer online.  Mike is constantly trying new things. His latest gig is Bubblews, but he has spent countless hours making videos for YouTube with limited success.  Next month who knows what he will try, but I guarantee you he will try something.  Mike doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him, and he will always have my respect because of it.

That leads me to my two tips of the day.


Improve your writing skills.  This is a broad-ranging tip but one I don’t think enough writers pay attention to.  You can have the greatest marketing idea in the world, but if you are a terrible writer people will leave you in droves.


If you have writing skills then find a unique way to package those skills.  Don’t be part of the flock that includes hundreds of thousands of other writers; find your own path and make it work.  If you write recipes then find a new angle; if you write travel articles do the same.  Find a way to showcase your unique qualities as a writer, and if you fail then try something else.


My friend Suzette has a lovely blog that certainly does not get enough visitors.  Here it is for your reading enjoyment.


Yellowstone 2009 167

Inspired by this? Then write about it. J


Writer’s Weekly is looking for new articles. They pay $60 per 600 word article, and lately they are looking for “success” stories.  Check them out here.


I want you inspired.  I want you to spread those wings and prepare for lift off. I don’t want to hear about the challenges; I want to hear about your solutions.  What are you going to do to find success with your writing?


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Making An Impact With Writing

5 Nov

003Welcome to a new week of artistry.  Shall we begin?

Today I think we will talk about having an impact with your writing.


A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
Jackie Robinson

So, what kind of impact do you want with your writing?  Are you looking for comments? Are you looking for book sales? Are you looking for acceptance from editors or the reading public?

Remember that negative responses can be considered an impact as well.  When I first started writing, I received a rather nasty comment one day on an article I had written for HubPages.  Now I admit, at first I was upset…angry….and discouraged.  I mean, nobody wants to hear that he is full of it or that he completely missed the mark, right?

Over time I have come to realize that even negative comments mean I have had an impact, and isn’t that why we all write in the first place? We want to make our mark in this world. We want to inspire or inform.  So whether the comments are negative or positive we are still making an impact, and I find that comforting.

The same can be said when you get rejected by a magazine editor or a book publisher.  There is one thing that is much worse than being rejected by an editor and that, my friends, is to never have tried and thus assured yourself of never having a chance.  Being rejected puts you in great company and it means that you made the effort and took the chance, which means you have big cajones. J

It’s all about perspective my friends.


If you don’t already follow Kelly’s blog then do so now.  Her blog is called The Real Housewife and you can find it here.



One of my newer pictures from my trip to Pe Ell this weekend.  Yes, the new travel series, Exploring The Back Roads, has its initial entry today and you can find that here.

As for this picture, see me, feel me, touch me, sing along with me. J  Use your senses and write a paragraph.


The White Pine Press Poetry Contest is taking submissions now until November 30th. Entry fee is $20 with a $1,000 first prize.  Here are those submission guidelines.


I’m currently writing an article about writing excellence.  Simply stated, I do not understand writing without trying to be excellent in writing….but then, I don’t understand parenting without trying to be excellent in parenting, or any other job or vocation or hobby or whatever.  We have limited time here on earth; we have incredible gifts and talents; why would we settle for mediocrity?

I just don’t get those who are willing to settle for 50%.cropped-summer-of-2010-015.jpg


Anything that I missed? Probably, but if so I’ll do it again on Thursday and try to plug the holes. Have a great week of writing and remember to drop me a line if I can do anything to help you and your writing career.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”