A Whale of a Tale, By Sonrisa

In which our heroes collide with a whale. No kidding.

Fear.  We spend so much time on this blog talking about fear!  Does it get annoying sometimes? It annoys me. Andrew and I are always teaming up to convince Leslie there is nothing to fear.  But I know, we are lying a little bit.  There are plenty of things to fear out there — like marinas with air

Source: A Whale of a Tale, By Sonrisa

Sometimes We’re Fast, Sometimes We’re Slow, By Sonrisa

We spent an entire month in the Kei Islands. Part of our long stay is simply because there is a lot about Kei Islands to enjoy; part of our long stay is our collective indecision about what to do about the Indonesia Visa Conundrum.   As Leslie mentioned a few posts back, the day we checked in with i

Source: Sometimes We’re Fast, Sometimes We’re Slow, By Sonrisa

Another Week, Another Chapter

Every year I buy Easter candy from this place. Online, as the store is in Pennsylvania.
Every year I buy Easter candy from this place. Online, as the store is in Pennsylvania.

I know that I should be able to produce more than a chapter in a week. Lately, though, that’s been my rate of progress. Because there is the matter of a nasty cold (could’ve been a mild case of flu, hard to tell, but it lasted more than two weeks,) a bathroom remodel, writing this blog, don’t you know, and of course taking people to wherever they want to go in the mornings. I think this is the sort of spot where a lot of writers become frustrated and think of quitting. Not me. Let’s face it, at a chapter a week, I can have the puppy drafted in about a year, year and a half tops.* And, there’s my point: it will be finished.

I think that a common mistake writers make with a book is that they want it to be done now! Never mind that the first draft, to quote Hemmingway, is shit. Never mind that it took Twain a couple of decades to write Huckleberry Finn. Never mind that you need to sell the thing to make it worth all the work. You want it done NOW!!!

I’ve been inserting a few scenes when I could (to be honest, the cold was the biggest obstacle — lack of energy to the max,) and by gum my story is progressing. Times like this are why I make notes in the margins of my manuscript (using Word.) I know what’s happening, and if it’s a shift in scene or action, my last note tells me where to go next.

It would be great to sit around the roaring fire outside the hide shelter and regale my tribe with tales of monsters and gods having epic battles. Heck, it would be great if somebody bought my book, right? But nobody can buy a book that isn’t ready to be read, and no book ever got ready to read until its author sweat enough blood to make that happen, even if it was only a chapter a week.

What do you say? Ready to go knock out a few sentences? That’s the stuff!



*The bathroom project proceeds apace, I’m healthy, and carrying people is only for mornings, so it will be a lot quicker than that, I imagine.


Anonymous Trick or Treater, Halloween Night, 2009
Anonymous Trick or Treater, Halloween Night, 2009

I was just listening to a playlist of Leonard Cohen, who was one of my favorite musicians back in the vicinity of 1970, more or less. Of the others I favored in those days, many covered Bob Dylan songs. Dylan and Cohen were, reportedly, mutual fans. Some years later I discovered the music of Bruce Springsteen. What these three composers have in common is top notch lyrics. That is, they are all excellent poets. Maybe that’s why I’ve never written any serious songs that were worth the trouble to sing: I’m a lousy poet. But, looking back, I see that I was certainly given the opportunity to enjoy a lot of great poetry. Dylan won a Nobel, of course, but Cohen’s lyrics grabbed me the moment I heard them. I don’t know who Suzanne was, but I’d have been happy to meet her. And, then this, from The Boss:

Beyond the palace hemi powered drones scream down the boulevard,
Girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors while boys try to look so hard.
The amusement park rises cold and dark; kids are huddled on the beach in the mist.
I want to die with you, Wendy, on the streets tonight, in an everlasting kiss.

Not bad, huh?

I hope that the youth of this moment have some exposure to something as excellent. I was privileged, still am, to have lived when poems like these three wrote sold incredibly well. Everybody should be so privileged, don’t you think?

The House Always Wins: A Novel by Brian Rouff

The House Always Wins: A Novel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a good book, and a fun book. I live in Las Vegas myself, and I can report that the general tone of the city is replicated well here. One caveat: the neighborhood in question (it’s real) is much too far from the Strip for any resort to want to buy it out. But, hey, it makes for a good story. This is a ghost story, the ghost being a former mobster named Meyer. I never knew what the name Meyer meant, so the reveal at the end of the meaning of Meir (yeah, spelling, I know) was a nice surprise. One hint: it’s a good name. And our Meyer is a good guy, who helps our heroine overcome a nasty old Vegas power player’s avarice. (It is possible that the nasty old Vegas power player is modeled on a real person, but I’m not gonna go there.)

In short, if you want a good mystery, thriller, and ghost story to read while you learn some things about the real Las Vegas, this is your book. Read it! I did, and I liked it!

View all my reviews

Some Truth About Writing

Inside the, well what do you think it is? In Peach Springs, Arizona, on Route 66.
Inside the, well what do you think it is? In Peach Springs, Arizona, on Route 66.

Newer writers always have a lot of questions about writing, and the process of writing, and whether they really are writers, that sort of thing. Well, friends, you are in luck, because this week, I’m going to answer some of those burning questions so that you can rest easier knowing, well, knowing this stuff:

1. Am I Really A Writer?

Well, let’s think. Do you sit down at a blank screen or paper, and leave when there are things written on the screen or paper? If you do, then, yes, you are really a writer, whether you get paid or not, whether you feel compelled or not, even whether you enjoy it or not, you are a writer. Next question.

2. When Will I Know that I Have Succeeded as a Writer?

When you accomplish what you’ve set out to accomplish. If that’s publish a book, then when your book is published. If it’s make a living at writing, then when you can quit your day job. If it’s get rich like John Grisham, you could be in deep doo doo. Hey, gotta be realistic.

3. What Are the Rules of Writing?

There aren’t any.
Except that there are.
Your high-school English teacher mentioned a lot of them.
Even though they don’t matter.
My favorite quote about rules is from Pablo Picasso:

You must know the rules like a professional in order to break them like an artist.

4. Should I Publish My Own Work or Get an Agent and/or Publisher.

Yes. Definitely.

5. Isn’t Publishing My Own Stuff a Lot of Hard Work?

Of course it is. That’s why you get such stingy royalties out of the big publishers. If you decide to go to the expense yourself, of course, you get 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of your books. You choose.

6. Are there Any Good Books on How to Write?

Yes. Yes, there are.

7. Which Books Are Those?

The ones you learn valuable lessons from.

8. Are You Serious?

Yes I am. This is all the true state of the art of writing.

9. When Is Your Book on Writing Coming Out?

Sometime after I write it. I’ll get back to you.

10. Anything Else to Add?