Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Quotes of the Weeks

Write hard and clear about what hurts.
—Ernest Hemingway

If a writer falls in love with you, you'll never die.

Start writing. I don't mean to sound dismissive, but START WRITING. There is NO SUCH THING as "too late" in the arts.
—Patton Oswalt

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
—Virginia Woolf

Anytime anybody tells me the trend is such and such, I go the opposite direction.
—Clint Eastwood

Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.
—Francoise Sagan

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

It isn't by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.
―Ken Kesey

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
—Ernest Hemingway

If you want to must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books...You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
—Ray Bradbury

Monday, November 21, 2022

Getting back in shape...

COV!D really did a number on my weight and fitness. So I am now going to get serious about getting back in shape, being more active, shedding more pounds, and getting out there more. I will track it in this post. More for me than you.
  • 20220815 - 256.6 lbs
  • 20220822 - 248.7
  • 20220829 - 245.2
  • 20220905 - 241.2
  • 20220912 - 238.8
  • 20221017 - 236.4
  • 20221024 - 235.2
  • 20221031 - 235.2
  • 20221107 - 230.6
  • 20221107 - 228.0
Total loss thus far:  28.6 lbs 

I am cutting out ALL refined sugar, drinking only water and coffee, and doing Intermittent Fasting. I started on 12:12.
  • 20220815 - 12:12
  • 20220901 - 14:10
  • 20221001 - 18:6
I now only eat between noon and 6PM.

This week is Thanksgiving feast time. It will be interesting to see how much damage I do in a week!

--Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Eat Local Read Local!

Come see me today! Signing books on a beautiful day!

--Click the image for directions!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Killer Robots and Family Reunions!

Went on an epic road trip. Defeated a killer robot! Remember, Kids. Steel-core 7.62 or .308 when hunting killer robots.

--I was actually at my niece's wedding! Congrats to Lauren and Dalton! Now back to work!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Advice from the King

10 tips from Stephen King:

 1. Write Sober              

Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson might make writers think that getting high or drunk is an essential to the writer’s toolkit – but here’s the thing: it isn’t. Addiction does damage, and as King points out in a Rolling Stone interview, it can really mess you up.

“The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I’ve thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, “There’s really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back.” The book is about 700 pages long, and I’m thinking, “There’s probably a good 350-page novel in there.” ~Rolling Stone (2014) 

2. Avoid Distraction When Writing

Don’t get lost in the related link loop for hours when you could (or should) be writing. Distractions are best avoided when you’re in writing mode. Even Stephen King has to admit that YouTube can be a burden sometimes. 

“YouTube is very addictive. I refused to put it on my favourite places because it’s too easy to go there.” ~Stephen King Visits YouTube

3. Listen To Critics

Don’t shut out the critics. Critics have pretty useful advice that can better your writing and guide your next pitch or paragraph. When asked about the worst writing advice he’s ever received, King brought up being told not to listen to critics. 

“The worst advice? “Don’t listen to the critics.” I think that you really ought to listen to the critics, because sometimes they’re telling you something is broken that you can fix. I think the advice “Don’t listen to the critics” is a sort of defensive thing that says if you stick your head in the sand, you won’t have to hear any bad news and you won’t have to see any bad news and you won’t have to change what you’re doing. But if you listen, sometimes you can get rid of a bad habit.” ~Writers Digest, 1991

4. Write A First Draft (In Three Months)

How long have you been working on the first draft of your novel or short story? King says it should take no more than three months to wrap up what you’ve got for the basics. 

“The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.” ~On Writing

5. Avoid Using Adverbs

Fans who know Stephen King should already know that he doesn’t love the use of adverbs. There are several quotes pertaining to them, but in this one he says exactly why they aren’t appropriate. 

“The adverb is not your friend. Consider the sentence “He closed the door firmly.” It’s by no means a terrible sentence, but ask yourself if ‘firmly’ really has to be there.” ~On Writing

6. Remember Why You Write

Why do you write? Doing it for the right reasons can make the entire process an easier one. Stephen King has his reasons – and so should you. Again from the great On Writing, here’s what King had to say about it. 

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” ~On Writing

7. Write Great Opening Lines

Opening lines hook readers, or puzzle writers and editors. Stephen King has mastered the art of writing a great opening line for chapters and paragraphs – and in an interview for The Atlantic, King bares all.

For readers:  “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”
For writers: “We’ve talked so much about the reader, but you can’t forget that the opening line is important to the writer, too. To the person who’s actually boots-on-the-ground. Because it’s not just the reader’s way in, it’s the writer’s way in also, and you’ve got to find a doorway that fits us both.” ~The Atlantic

8. See Stories As Unfound Relics 

Where ideas come from is one of the largest great mysteries of the creative world. King says in On Writing that stories are relics – and that all writers really have to do is learn how to find them. 

“Stories aren’t souvenir tee-shirts or Game Boys. Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. Sometimes the fossil you uncover is small; a seashell. Sometimes it’s enormous, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with all the gigantic ribs and grinning teeth. Either way, short story or thousand page whopper of a novel, the techniques of excavation remain basically the same.” ~On Writing

9. Don’t Obsess About Genres 

A lot of writers get stuck at which genre they’re writing. Don’t. Sometimes genre writing can be restrictive. During an NPR interview, King clarifies how he has managed to transcend genres when he sits down to do his thing.

“People can call me a horror writer if they want to, and that’s fine — as long as the checks don’t bounce, I’m happy with that. But I think that I do a lot more, and I’m interested in the mystery of what we are and what we’re capable of doing.” ~NPR

 10.  Avoid Phases Like…

Writers should keep an eye on King’s official Twitter account, where he occasionally voices thoughts and drops nuggets of writing advice – like this one on an overused phrase. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Eat Local Read Local

On this day next month, I will be selling and signing books at the Eat Local Read Local festival. They combine the best food trucks, live music, and local authors!

  • Where: Cascades Library - 21030 Whitfield Place, Potomac Falls, VA 20165
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 15 - 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Outside Rain or Shine! 
  • Free admission

This one is going to be a blast!!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Hourlings Podcast Project, S2E22, Procrastination

The Hourlings Podcast Project,  S2E22, Procrastination

This Ep's contributors:
Martin Wilsey -
S.C. Megale -
David Keener -

Friday, August 19, 2022

Reading: Zypheria's Call: Tanyth Fairport Adventures, Book 2

From Nathan Lowell:

Sometimes the longest journeys are within.Tanyth makes her way across the ocean to continue her quest for the hermit of Lammas Wood. Storms and ice block her path, but her most serious enemies may be people she has never met. As her power grows, she must come to grips with the changes within her and the fear that she is going mad. To accomplish that she must answer Zypheria's Call and survive.

Available in Kindle, Paperback, and Audible editions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Old Guy Camping Adventures: The Pennsic War

It was a bitter-sweet camping adventure. It was supposed to be a two-week campout. After one night, I tested positive for Covid-19. I missed the first week. Plus, my best friend had passed away. He had camped with me there for the last twenty years.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Monkey Wrenches...

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

I got Covid. 

I was on my first day of vacation. I just got our camp set up, and BAM. I test positive for Covid. We left our camp set up. We were camping with 30 other people, so I didn't want to contaminate them.

Luckily my wife did not test positive. So I am now sequestered in the guest room. 

So far, it's mild. A dry cough. No fever or other symptoms.

So it's fives days of Netflix and cough...

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.
—Ernest Hemingway

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.
—Mark Twain

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

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.
—Christina Rossetti

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

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper. 
—E.B. White

Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent in your office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain now.
—Jack Kerouac 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Quotes of the Week

Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things.
—Ray Bradbury

Whether or not you write well, write bravely.
—Bill Stout

Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader's.
—Stephen King

Fairy tales are more than true not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
—G.K. Chesterton

Creativity is an act of defiance.
—Twlya Tharp

All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories.
—Neil Gaiman

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

A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children isn't a good children's story in the slightest. 
—C.S. Lewis

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Quotes of the Week

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

The first time I appeared on stage, I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. I didn’t realize that my body was moving. It’s a natural thing to me. I asked my manager backstage, ‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ And he said, ‘Whatever it is, go back and do it again.’

When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.
—Will Rogers

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.
—John Muir

When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest. 
—Stephen King

Everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter...a book, a phrase learned.
—Anaïs Nin

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
—Ernest Hemingway

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
—Jack London

I'll be writing records until I'm dead, whether people like it or not.
—Alanis Morissette

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Quotes of the Week

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

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

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
—Robert Frost

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

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

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

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.
—Ernest Hemingway

Philosophy for a Happy Life—
Someone to love, something to look forward to,
and something to do
—Elvis Presley

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Quotes of the Week

You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.
—Robin Williams

I have found that a story leaves a deeper impression when it is impossible to tell which side the author is on.
—Leo Tolstoy

Freedom is...the right to write the wrong words.
—Patti Smith

Don't use no double negatives.
Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
The passive voice should never be employed.
You should not use a big word when a diminutive would suffice.
About those sentence fragments.
Avoid clichés like the plague.
—William Safire

Don’t describe it, show it. That’s what I try to teach all young writers—take it out! Don’t describe a purple sunset, make me see that it is purple.
—James Baldwin

You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad #writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.
—Jennifer Egan

The only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out; a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out.
—David Rakoff

You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
—Annie Proulx

Monday, June 6, 2022

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Quotes of the Week

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

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

The first person you should think of pleasing, in writing a book, is yourself. If you can amuse yourself for the length of time it takes to write a book, the publishers and the readers can and will come later.
—Patricia Highsmith

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
—J.R.R. Tolkien

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

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Fast Friday Interviews: Erica Rue

Erica Rue

Tell me about yourself?

I grew up in Virginia on a steady diet of sci-fi and fantasy. I always loved writing and I was (and still am) one of those people who collect notebooks and hate writing in them. I wrote plays in elementary school and emo poetry in middle school (who didn’t?). I kept writing through high school, lost the habit in college, and found it again in my mid-twenties. Finding my way back to writing has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. It literally keeps me sane. Last August I published The Predator Analysis, the fourth and final book of my debut series, The Kepos Chronicles. 
When I’m not writing, I plant new varieties of veggies in my garden, play video games, and read the same five books over and over to my kids. And sometimes, if I’m lucky, I get to go to the rock climbing gym.

Tell me about your current Book:

A narrow escape from an alien ship. A planet with a secret. Can she save the entire colony, or has she doomed them all to decimation?

Dione Quinn is a biology nerd, not a fighter, but when a school research trip goes wrong and the Venatorians attack their ship, she doesn’t have much of a choice.

In fact, she has even fewer choices when her best friend, Lithia Min, jumps them to a planet outside the Alliance-protected Bubble. They’ve escaped for now, but they are stranded where no one will find them, and one of her classmates has been injured in the attack. The only thing that can save her is on the uncatalogued planet Kepos.

As Dione discovers the truth about the planet and the lengths to which she must go to save her friends, Kepos presents a problem. One that will force Dione to decide: What is her future worth?

What are you working on now?

I’m planning to put out a series collection of all four books of The Kepos Chronicles later this year.
I’m also working on a new trilogy called The Atlantis Crown. It’s a YA dystopian/dystopian romance trilogy. Think “The Selection” by Kiera Cass meets “The Atlantis Grail” by Vera Nazarian. This new series is fun and relatively light, so it’s perfect for an escape. The first book, The Goddess Games (The Atlantis Crown Book 1) just went to the editor. I’m going to try a rapid release, so I’ll be waiting until I have at least two books ready to go before I start publishing the series.

What is something that people don’t generally know about you?

I was an athlete in high school. I played basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse, and while I wasn’t a superstar, I was pretty good. Even my own friends in high school didn’t know until I convinced them to watch one of my field hockey games. To quote my own father: “I didn’t think you could run that fast.” I think because I was also a nerd people assumed I was bad at sports.
And these might be fighting words, but my favorite Star Trek is Voyager. Janeway is the best captain, though Picard is a close second. Between Janeway and B’Elanna and Seven of Nine, I had a trio of worthy female role models growing up. 

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

Define your own success and set goals. Is success finishing a novel or making six figures? I think it’s important to define one’s own personal idea of success instead of using someone else’s metric. My idea of success probably looks very different from another author’s. It doesn’t matter if you dream big or small because it’s your dream. Once you know what success looks like, so set goals that will help you achieve it. Reevaluate these goals at intervals. Nothing is set in stone. 

What is the best piece of writing advice you give to new authors?

Read and write. A lot. Those are the two things that have made me a better author. When I read something I enjoy, I ask myself why I liked it. Was it the writing style? The characters? The plot? By identifying what specifically made me like a book, I can use that element in my own writing. When I listen to a song, I mostly hear the lyrics and melody. When my audiophile husband listens to a song, he takes in the composition. He can tell you what instruments were used, the key, all sorts of stuff I barely notice, like the fact that apparently, the song Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard has an electric violin. I realized that he must analyze music the way I analyze stories. So that’s my advice. Study stories. Study tropes. Figure out why an element works in one story, but not another, then try it in your own writing.