Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review

Light at the end of 2017
Looking back at 2017 is kind of tough for me. In general, it was not a good year in my world. It was not all bad, but the thing on the problematic side of the scale all cause me to lose momentum in writing.

So here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from 2017.

On the Blogging front:

Not writing stuff involved with authoring:

Writing in 2017:
  • I wrote stories for three anthologies
  • I wrote two more novels.
  • I wrote 17 chapters in my personal memoir.
  • I wrote 5 original ghost stories.
  • I outlined my next three novels. 
  • I documented ideas and concepts for about 400 more projects.
  • I wrote 15 original short stories (unpublished).
  • I wrote almost daily until things got complicated...
Carl Wilsey

Personal life had too many monkey wrenches:
  • My Brother Carl died suddenly from cancer.  
  • My Son moved to California, and we had a great, but bittersweet, cross-country road trip.
  • My wife fell down the stairs and horribly broke her leg. (She's fine now)
  • All these monkey wrenches were necessary distractions from writing.
  • My next novel SHADOWS OF THE SENTINEL is two months behind schedule.

It wasn't all bad news:
  • I began a fitness plan in 2017, and it's working for once!
  • I have lost over 100 pounds total so far.
  • I have not been this thin/healthy since 1976.
  • Book sales have skyrocketed.
  • I have met significant financial goals in my life.
  • I plan to become a full-time Author in 2018. 
  • I have family and friends that love me. Old and new.

I have High Hopes for 2018:
  • I will have two or three novels to be published.
  • I will appear in three or four anthologies.
  • I will transition to Full-Time author. (I wonder if my boss reads this?)
  • I will become super fit!
  • I will spend more time outdoors.
  • I will camp more.
  • I will travel a bit more.
  • I will relax and enjoy my shoes... 

--Goodbye 2017. And good riddance. 

2017: Not So Much...

Friday, December 29, 2017


STILL FALLING is currently on sale for $0.99.

Did you get a new Kindle for Christmas? Maybe a new phone or tablet with the free Kindle App? Do you like action, adventure, science fiction with a scattering of killer robots, romance, and just a bit of genocide?

Barcus is a working stiff looking for a good paycheck. When the Ventura and its crew enter orbit for a scheduled planet survey, the ship activates an automated defense system protecting the planet. Although the Ventura is destroyed in the attack, Barcus alone survives the harrowing fall to the remote planet surface. He struggles to remain alive and sane and to discover why everyone he knew and loved on the Ventura was deliberately murdered.

Swinging between despair and fury, Barcus discovers that for every answer he obtains, there are more questions raised. Barcus is assisted by the Emergency Module, Em, his most useful tool. It is an Artificial Intelligence system contained in an all-terrain vehicle specifically designed to help him survive. Barcus soon finds himself in the middle of a planetary genocide of the local native population. He is unable to stand passively by as more people die, even if they are long lost colonists who fear "The Man From Earth" like children fear the monster under their bed.

Will Barcus ever find his way home? Will he find out who is responsible? Will his rage just burn this world down? Or will he find his soul in the eyes of a starving, frightened woman?

--STILL FALLING is book one of the Solstice 31 Saga. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Write a lot, write with passion. Don’t give up the day job till you have reason to believe you can live off your writing, because plenty of great books have been written at weekends, and why put your art under pressure to be profitable?
—Emma Donoghue

Go to where the silence is and say something.
—Amy Goodman

You must be prepared to work always without applause.
—Ernest Hemingway

If an adverb became a character in one of my books, I'd have it shot. Immediately.
—Elmore Leonard

Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.
—Allen Ginsberg

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.
—W. Somerset Maugham

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything good.
—William Faulkner

Here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.
—John Steinbeck

Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.
—Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Familily Support

Brenda Reiner - Trophy Wife
If you want to really become a successful author, there is an essential element that often gets ignored: Family support.

It's good to have a supportive family in any walk of life. But if you are a writer, just starting out, their support can make or break your efforts.

My wife, Brenda, is one of the keys to my success.
  • She encourages me.
  • She respects my writing time.
  • She didn't complain about the money I spent on my first novel for a professional editor and cover. 
  • She is an excellent sounding board for ideas.
  • She is my most trusted Beta reader.
  • She gifts me with the time to work.
  • She is proud of my efforts.
My first novel quickly made back all the money I invested into it. Never having to dip into the household accounts again made continuing easier.

Carving out two hours a day was harder than I thought in the beginning. I did NOT take it out of my family time, or my household chores time. I quit watching sitcoms and other stupid TV shows that were trying to just sell me soap and Viagra. I also reduced time on Facebook, a time suck machine.

Brenda liked that my "New Hobby" was not dangerous or expensive. She saw me having fun with it. She helped me with book signings and office space and being generally awesome. She likes traveling with me to attend literary conferences.

I'll admit writing is far easier with my kids grown up and out on their own. My office stays the way I left it. And there is way less screaming and running and random food to step in. I miss that.

-A good home life is the best foundation for you as a writer. Make it happen.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: J. M. Anjewierden

J. M. Anjewierden

Tell me about yourself?

Beard aside, I am not the evil twin. He has a goatee, which as Star Trek taught us is far more evil than a beard, and is a computer engineer, making him an angry engineer during crunch times. Of course an angry engineer is one short hop away from being a full blown mad scientist.

The obvious joke that he’s the left brain and I the right has some basis in reality, but the really interesting thing about us is that I apparently got his sense of smell as well as my own – my nose is sometimes painfully sensitive while he has trouble with normal scents at times.

But enough about my doppelganger. I’ve been writing stories since almost before I could read. They were comics at first, a lot of which were adventures with mercenary penguins, as well as some fantasy. I published my first novel, a Blue-Collar Sci-Fi coming of age story, back in April, followed up by a Steampunk suspense/adventure novel a few months later.

Even outside of writing I live and breathe books. I’ve worked for my local county library system for more than a decade now, and I have one semester left to get my Masters of Library Science. It really is a special privilege to be able to recommend awesome books to all the people who come through my library.

It’s also a lot of fun doing the programs, like the bilingual storytime, (English and Spanish) the system’s yearly anime convention, and my weekly Dungeons and Dragons game for teens.

Yes, I get paid to be Dungeon Master for a Dungeons and Dragons game. As cool as that is, it can also be challenging. You will never run into a D&D player more vicious and bloodthirsty than a twelve year old girl who is really getting into it.

Tell me about your current Book:

Penny Dreadful and the Clockwork Copper

Viva was born to be the perfect spy. Well, that’s not strictly accurate. She was built to be the perfect spy. With the mind and knowledge of the best police clockworks, the diligent and intimidating coppers, and the body and instincts of the sultry companion models, Viva is capable of playing a servant, companion, or real woman. The trouble is they built her better than they realized. She is no mere automaton, blindly following her imprinted knowledge and orders. No, Viva-3 can think for herself, and say no to her masters.

Of course, the moment they realize this, the secret police will simply destroy her and start again. They’re unconcerned with killing the people they’re supposedly sworn to protect, so of course they wouldn’t hesitate to terminate a mere clockwork, whether built of metal or flesh.

Her latest mission is to go undercover and discover the identity of the city’s notorious vigilante hero, Penny Dreadful. He has started interfering with the coppers as well as the criminals, and the secret police want him stopped. Of course, they suspect the heir of one of the most respected Lords, so caution is key.

Viva must follow her orders and avoid any hint of suspicion that she is more than she seems, both with the Reed-Brooks family and her masters, or risk discovery and death. One question remains for Viva: In her quest to be free, would Penny Dreadful be more useful as an ally instead of an enemy?

What are you working on now?

I am at present working on the sequel to my first novel, The Long Black. Our heroine, Morgan, having finally succeeded in becoming an officer on a star freighter, just wants to forget her past, forget the horrors of her childhood and the recent violence of the pirate attack on her starship, but she’s having problems letting go. Her friend Emily suggests Morgan take a vacation, come visit her estates on the nearby planet Albion. Of course, her friend is also a Baroness in her own right and a former officer in Albion’s Marine Corps, with enemies of her own…

The Assassination of Lady Emily will be out by April, grad school and infant son permitting.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I do pretty much all of my writing at my computer desk in my bedroom, out of necessity really. A week after I graduated high school I was in a car accident and broke my back in three places. All things considered I am incredibly lucky and blessed – I can still walk and get around pretty much fine, really – but I do have to limit my chair time, especially if the chair isn’t really good.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

“There is no new thing under the sun” was true when it was written a couple millennia ago, and it is true now. There will always be another author who wrote the same basic premise as you are working on, but that doesn’t matter. You could give the same premise to a hundred authors and set them loose, and get a hundred different stories out the other end. What matters is how you as an individual approach it.

What is your favorite Website?

That’s a tough one. As far as writing goes, I’d have to go with They have so many resources for new authors to help them with everything from outlining to formatting, book covers to marketing. Plus they keep a decent eye on current events, and have a lively comments section.



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
—Mark Twain

You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.
—George Singleton

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.
—Harper Lee

Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.
—Ray Bradbury

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
—J.R.R. Tolkien

Read great sentences until you can tell when one isn't. Read great paragraphs until their rhythms get stuck in your head.
—Lily Rothman

You must write. It’s not enough to start by thinking. You become a writer by writing.
—R.K. Narayan

I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art. 
—Carrie Fisher

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Momentum

When I and writing my novels I have learned to use Momentum as a tool.

What I mean by momentum is just what you think. You get the the writing machine moving and keep it moving. It is the discipline of writing consistently, daily, on a roll.

It only takes me about 12 weeks to finish the first draft of a novel, if I don't lose my momentum.

I swear, for every day I miss writing, I have to double that delay in days on the schedule.

So guard your writing time. Enjoy the days when you can write for a whole day. Eat right and exercise!

--Keep your momentum rolling!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Reading: Cibola Burn: The Expanse, Book 4

This week I read Cibola Burn: The Expanse, Book 4 by James S. A. Corey.

Here is the description from Amazon:

An empty apartment, a missing family, that's creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave.

The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds, and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.

Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.

James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.

And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.

--Great series. Highly recommended.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Short: The Black Hole

The Dust series of short Sci-Fi films are very interesting to me. I love writing and Sci-Fi and the fact that these films give film makers a chance to reach a wide audience. You can even film these short scripts with an iPhone and the new steady-cams.

The classic portable hole...

--Another fun one.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Quotes of the Week

The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.
—Stephen King

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
—Henry J. Kaiser

The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn’t.
—Joseph L. Mankiewicz

You have to protect your writing time. You have to protect it to the death.
—William Goldman

Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
—Henry Miller

I am not responsible for the ideas and opinions that my characters express.
—William Faulkner

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
—Joseph Brodsky

Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.
—Anne McCaffrey

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Procrastination

I have been thinking a lot lately about procrastination.

When my wife broke her leg on October 1st (our wedding anniversary, dammit!), I ended up taking a six week break from writing to care for her.

I would not do anything different. I did learn something about procrastination. Why it is such a killer for people. When you write every day in a disciplined manner there is an invisible force that takes hold of you as an author. It is the opposite of procrastination. The vocabulary fails to have a word for it so I am going to call it Momentum.

When I bagan to try and pick up where I left off, if was tougher than I thought it would be. I had to go back and read what I had already written, something I never do as I write. In that six weeks I never stopped thinking about the story. I worked with my writers group on the title and cover. I worked with my illustrator to finalize the cover.It came out really nice.

But my Momentum was lost.

At this writing I am still trying to get back up to speed. The lesson I learned is that I write novels so quickly because I NEVER STOP. No breaks. No procrastination. No pausing to go back and review. No second guessing yourself or your outline.

Hammer through never stopping.

--Make every month a NaNoWriMo effort. The Lesson is the power of Momentum.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Reading: Dark Matter

Last week I read DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch.

Here is the description from Amazon:

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

--I heard about it from a friend last week in my writers group. Great stuff. Recommended.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cover Reveal: Shadows of the Sentinal

It's not a pressure suit. It's a plot point...
Here is the cover of my next novel:

Coming Soon: March 31, 2018!

Cobb was an engineer that specialized in programming swarm drones. His new job as part of a deep space salvage team seemed like a good way to make some serious money and get parts for the ship he was restoring.

He never considered how his technology could so easily be weaponized in the wrong hands.

And those hands were his...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait two years to know whether or not it was funny.
—Alain de Botton

Early morning, lunch break, on the train, late at night — it doesn’t matter. Find the extra hour, go to the same place, shut the door. No exceptions, no excuses.
—John Grisham

Why say “very beautiful”? “Beautiful” is enough.
—James Joyce

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.
—William Shakespeare

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
—Benjamin Franklin

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.
—William Faulkner

Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.
—Carlos Ruiz Zafn

Writing is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to those who have none.
—Jules Renard

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Pros

Here is a lesson that many self-pub authors find hard to learn: Hire Professionals

Here is a partial list of pros that I now rely on:
  • Editors
  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • Illustrators
  • Artists
  • Cover Designers
  • Web Developers
  • Audio Producers
  • Narrators
  • Literary Translators

Paying for professional services and deliverables should be considered an investment. In the beginning I was doing all these tasks myself. I did everything from editing, accounting, contract reviews, covers, to designing my own business cards. Honestly, it showed. I muddled through but rapidly realized the value of the Pros. 

I would never ask people I know to give me free medical advice for my cat Bailey. Just like paying for the services of a veterinarian surgeon is worth it, so are writing professionals. I listed Editors first. It is the first one an Indie Author should invest in.

Here is another example: I could probably build my own house. I could do it. I have a lot of the hand tools. I can read books. It would probably not be as good. I bet my plumbing would leak really bad. My wiring would probably be a fire hazard. The drywall would really be ugly. Talented professionals ensure there are not problems.

Yes, they all cost money.

As a serious Indie Author, I am my own boss, and have found that they are totally worth it. Unlike old school published authors, they all work for me. I don't work for them.

--Be your own general contractor.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Reading: All These Worlds

This week I read ALL THESE WORLDS by Dennis E. Taylor.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Being a sentient spaceship really should be more fun. But after spreading out through space for almost a century, Bob and his clones just can't stay out of trouble. They've created enough colonies so humanity shouldn't go extinct. But political squabbles have a bad habit of dying hard, and the Brazilian probes are still trying to take out the competition. And the Bobs have picked a fight with an older, more powerful species with a large appetite and a short temper. 

Still stinging from getting their collective butts kicked in their first encounter with the Others, the Bobs now face the prospect of a decisive final battle to defend Earth and its colonies. But the Bobs are less disciplined than a herd of cats, and some of the younger copies are more concerned with their own local problems than defeating the Others. Yet salvation may come from an unlikely source. A couple of eighth-generation Bobs have found something out in deep space. All it will take to save the Earth and perhaps all of humanity is for them to get it to Sol — unless the Others arrive first.

--Book 3 in the Bobiverse series. I really enjoy these. Recommended.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: T.M. Slay

T.M. Slay

Tell me about yourself?

I've been writing for 15 years because I was told I couldn't do it. So...of course I did it! And then some. Doctors also told me I couldn't have I did that and then some! I'm a proud mama of 5 children, and I'd love to have more. Yea, that's what happens without cable. Also I have a few fur babies. If you've seen my "story time", then you've seen my horses. They're all rescues, and I couldn't love them more. So, do I have it all? Not quite. Why not? Well, I have a dream for greater things. I want a foundation to save more horses, I want to expand my writing. I want more children, and I want to impact the world in better ways. I mean, don't we all want better for our world? Ok, I concede, maybe we don't ALL want better, some like the world strangled and stuffed down in a garbage can.

It helps further agenda that way. But me? I want more readers to find me so I can send them to more awesome writers who will show them to others. Only with open minds and hearts will we ever improve anything, and I truly believe that even fantasy and romance hold the powers to do such things. For if we can hold open our hearts and minds and strive for more, our legacies to our children and our grandchildren will be even more than any amount of possessions would ever be.

Tell me about your current Book: 

Legend Mine, Book 3: The Kataran Series

As Reignor royalty, Terrah has always known her duty--until the deay her Kataran father was murdered. A price on her head, her trust shattered, Terrah is devestated when it seems neither her mother's gods, nor her father's, are able to point her toward the truth. In order to keep her safe and find the culprit, her brother, the new king, has called in the best protection in Rignor Galaxy...

Jacob, the Legendary Ancient Warrior of Warriors of the Katara, is going on what he believes to be his last mission -- finding who murdered his mentor. Secrets are plentiful on the mysterious planet of Reignor,and Terrah's help is strained at best. The woman is walking, talking trouble. Too Bad he needs her in more ways than he cares to admit...

It seems her father wasn't the only target, and his death was only the beginning. As more information comes to light, Jacob is no longer simply solving a murder, but he's also been tasked with securing the small planet and keeping intergalactic peace. Jacob commands Legendary skills, Terrah the Legendary Fire, and together they have The Universe to help them find the truth. But will the truth alone be enough to bring a murderer to justice, keep Terrah safe, and prevent Reignor from invasion? Jacob isn't sure, but he's damn well determined to try.

What are you working on now? 

Book 4 of The Kataran Series; Treading Water, Book 1 The Atlantean Series; & The WarLord's Bride

Where is your favorite place to be when you write? 

Either my home office, or while sitting in bed...

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing? 

Never give up, and always give 150%!

What is your favorite Website?