Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Quotes of the week

When all else fails write what your heart tells you.
—Mark Twain

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.
—Doris Lessing

My advice is not to wait to be struck by an idea. If you’re a writer, you sit down and damn well decide to have an idea.
—Andy Rooney

Whatever you describe to another person is also a revelation of who you are and who you think you are. You cannot describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.
—James Baldwin

Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.
—Jimmy Stewart

If your book doesn't keep you up nights writing it, it won't keep anyone up nights reading it.
—James A. Michener

I write only when inspirations strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.
—W. Somerset Maugham

We who tell stories should be modest about the job, and not assume that because the reader is interested in the story, they’re interested in who’s telling it. A storyteller should be invisible, as far as I’m concerned.
—Philip Pullman

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Tuesday Tips: Length

One question I hear a lot is "How Long is a novel?"

My answer is always, "The story should be as long as it needs to be to serve the Story."

That being said, here is a handy table.

Monday, July 6, 2020

New Audio Book! The Once Damned

Everything Ends… 


“Please don’t go.” She leaned her forehead on the nape of his neck. It was the most intimate moment he had ever experienced. His whole life had been violence and pain and death.

This hurt more than all of it.

“I must go. It is my final task. Live or die. The High Vestal must know the truth. I cannot do otherwise. I am finished hiding from the Queen. I am finished hiding from the truth, only to discover death hides from me.”

“They will try to stop you.”

“They will try."

--The novella is $.99 in Kindle and $4.80 for the Audio Edition (101 minutes!)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Summer Writing

This has been an odd summer so far. COVID has canceled all of my normal summer road trips and vacations. All my camping trips have been canceled as well. So we are staying home, staying in. Can't even go on our weekly summer movie dates at 11am on Tuesdays.

I have fallen into a new writing routine.

Instead of morning writing until lunch I am doing projects first thing to beat the heat. That is great for projects, but afternoon writing is not my best time.

I can still crank out a chapter but I miss the coffee. I don't want to make and drink a second pot a day so on Monday I will wait until noon to make a pot of coffee and see how that works.

--At least it's not 100 degrees in my den...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Quotes of the Week

When asked, "How do you write?" I invariable answer, "One word at a time."
—Stephen King

I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.
—Cheryl Strayed

Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.
—Paulo Coelho

Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them.
—John Steinbeck

I only lie when I have to, but I have to a lot.
—Mark Twain (from Huckleberry Finn)

Write hard and clear about what hurts.
—Ernest Hemingway

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

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
—Anton Chekhov

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Quotes of the Week

I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.
—Sylvia Plath

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
—E.L. Doctorow

Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.
—William Faulkner

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

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.
—John Steinbeck

Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
—Mark Twain

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because the people fail to see it.
—James A. Michener

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer.
—Steve Martin

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.
—Truman Capote

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Quotes of the Week

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
—Richard Bach

The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt.
—Sylvia Plath

Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
—Arthur Miller

ever make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.
—Rod Serling

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.
—Jessamyn West

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.
—Stephen King

We all have time machines, don't we, those that take us back are memories...And those that carry us forward are dreams.
—H.G. Wells

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Quotes of the Week

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
—Pablo Picasso

If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area.
—David Bowie

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
—Arthur Miller

here is only one way to work—Like Hell.
—Bette Davis

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.
—Orson Welles

I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live.
—Françoise Sagan

Whatever you describe to another person is also a revelation of who you are and who you think you are. You cannot describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.
—James Baldwin

Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.
—Stephen Fry

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
—Stephen King

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer.
—Steve Martin

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Quotes of the Week

Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.
—Norman Mailer

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.
—John Steinbeck

Read and write, and do these two things whenever you have a chance. Surround yourself with writers who are better than you. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t depend solely on external validation. Write about what thrills you and terrifies you.
—Karen Abbott

Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it.
—John Green

Advice to young writers? Always the same advice: learn to trust our own judgment, learn inner independence, learn to trust that time will sort the good from the bad– including your own bad.
—Doris Lessing

I think an artist’s only responsibility is to chase their inspiration and to fall in love. If it happens to make the world a better place, that’s great, but if you’re trying to do that consciously, it feels like homework.
—Lin-Manuel Miranda

So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.
—Virginia Woolf

Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
—Annie Proulx

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Quotes of the Week

Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul.
—Charlie Chaplin

Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul.
—Charlie Chaplin

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.
—Mark Twain

Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory. Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it.
—Jack London

Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.
—John Cleese

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.
—James Baldwin

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.
—John Steinbeck

Great dialogue has transparency. Something is being said while something else is being felt.
—Robert McKee

Monday, May 25, 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Quotes of the Week

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.
—John Steinbeck

Great dialogue has transparency. Something is being said while something else is being felt.
—Robert McKee

The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.
—Willaim Goldman

As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.
—Ernest Hemingway

If you want to fly, you have to give up the shit that weighs you down.
—Toni Morrison

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.
—Leonard Cohen

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
—E. L. Doctorow

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
–C. J. Cherryh

Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer's a good idea.
—Richard Ford

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
—Justice Brandeis

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Quotes of the Week

I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations. They generally produce their worst work when they do that.
—David Bowie

Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.
—Jimmy Stewart

Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.
—Henry David Thoreau

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
—Mark Twain

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
—Marilyn Monroe

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
—Thomas Jefferson

You fail only if you stop writing.
—Ray Bradbury

When asked, "How do you write?" I invariable answer, "One word at a time."
—Stephen King

A one-page breakthrough can start an avalanche.
—Nancy K. Haddock

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Quotes of the Week

Welcome to 2020
What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.
——F. Scott Fitzgerald

I put a coma in this morning, took it out this afternoon.
—Oscar Wilde

Happiness is pursuing work that sustains the spirit.
—Walt Disney

Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them.
—John Steinbeck

The first draft of anything is shit.
—Ernest Hemingway

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.
—Virginia Woolf

Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.
—Hunter S. Thompson

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
—Ray Bradbury

If anybody has a job and starts at 9, there's no reason why they can't get up at 4:30 or five and write for a couple of hours, and give their employers their second-best effort of the day—which is what I did.
—Mary Oliver

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
—Cynthia Heimel

Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. Just do it and the confidence will follow.
—Carrie Fisher

Saturday, May 2, 2020

COVID Closures

My favorite used book store has fallen victim to the COVID pandemic state-mandated closures. I loved this place. I had my very first book-signing event there. It has been in old town Manassas as long as I have lived in Virginia. I am equal parts sad and angry about this.


--Goodbye, Prospero's. I will miss you big time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Quotes of the Week

No, it is not easy to write. It is as hard as breaking rocks. Sparks and splinters fly like shattered steel.
—Clarice Lispector

Writers don’t have lifestyles. They sit in little rooms and #write.
—Norman Mailer

Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born.
—Clarice Lispector

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
—Joan Walsh Anglund

The book that will most change your life is the book you write.
—Seth Godin

Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.
—Ann Patchett

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
—Charlie Chaplin

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
—W. Somerset Maugham

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because the people fail to see it.
—James A. Michener

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
—Orson Welles

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer.
—Steve Martin

Writers lose themselves in the dark on purpose, and follow the light of strangeness and surprise.
—Andre Dubus

Sunday, April 26, 2020

WOW! Five Years of DCMSU!

Five years ago today I started this comic. My college buddy, Mr. Jer was busting my chops with his excellent comic skills. I am amazed looking back at how many things have changed since then. So much water under the bridge.

It's been a good five. Here is the one that started them all on April 26, 2015:


--Here's to another excellent five years!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Quotes of the Week

If you want to fly, you have to give up the shit that weighs you down.
—Toni Morrison

We all have time machines, don't we, those that take us back are memories...And those that carry us forward are dreams.
—H.G. Wells

Write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.
—Erica Jong

Make writing a regular part of your daily routine, even just a tiny amount per day, so that it feels more natural to write than not to.
—Jennifer Egan

If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in, you will interest other people.
—Rachel Carson

Just because you’re sick of your script doesn’t mean it’s finished.
—William M. Akers

The trouble with fiction is that it makes too much sense, whereas reality never makes sense.
—Aldous Huxley

Note to writers: "Amazing" is very tired. "Amazing" needs a long vacation. Therefore, please don't write about your amazing party, your amazing girlfriend's amazing dress, or your amazing vacation. Something more pungent & specific, please.
—Stephen King

When all else fails write what your heart tells you.
—Mark Twain

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.
—Stephen King



Monday, April 13, 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Quotes of the Week

Tales from the Loop
You are what you settle for.
—Janis Joplin

Writers feel the grammar rather than knowing it. This comes from good reading. If you read enough, the grammar will come.
—Colum McCann

Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time.
—William Zinsser

Inspect your “hads” and see if you really need them.
—Martin Amis

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.
—Beatrix Potter

I never forget that the average man, from the fields, the streets, the bars, the offices and even the gutters of his country, has acquired a vividness of speech that goes beyond anything I could invent.
—James M. Cain

Drama is life with the dull parts cut out.
—Alfred Hitchcock

A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.
—Aldous Huxley

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.
—Robert Graves

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write.
—Anaïs Nin

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
—Arthur Miller


Monday, April 6, 2020

FREE: Solstice 31 Short Story

In the middle of the Oklahoma wastelands, there is a salvage yard where you can get almost everything you want...

OKLAHOMA SALVAGE