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Monday, November 5, 2012


Moving over to WordPress! See ya there!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review: Pond Life

Only put in about three hours since we last talked. I blame this on you. Because that's easier.

I read a book called Pond Life by Sam Kates; it's a collection of short horror stories--maybe horror isn't always the right word for each story, but creepy sure as hell describes them. I was thinking about how to review this book since I can't compare it to other novels, because it isn't actually a novel, per se. Given that I've published 4-5 short stories, and have a read a good number of them, including collections like this--I think I have some authority on it though.

The worst part about this book is the name. It doesn't nearly describe what you're going to experience when you begin reading, and I think that's to the detriment of Mr. Kates wallet--because the book is good. The best short horror story collection I've ever read is The Collection, by Bentley Little. Sam Kates barely misses this honor with these ten stories.

I don't want to spend my time describing each of the stories, because you can simply go here and read about them. What I want to do is describe the world that Kates creates in Pond Life.

He never tells you completely what is going on in each story, but sends you down a path of macabre and wonder that makes it hard to step away from the book at any given time. It's infuriating and yet wonderful how each story leaves you guessing at what happens to the characters in the long run. For the most part, Kates gives you a glimpse of the horror they're about to face, but then pulls you away--only to drop you into another story in which you witness a man murder his wife or the worst prison ever created.

One other thing I wanted to comment on is Sam Kates writing style. It's superb. He has a meticulous way with words that accurately paints a picture, but leaves enough room for the imagination to fill in blanks--which I always believe can create more powerful scenes than any writer can on paper.

If you're into short stories, this book is a definite buy. Kudos to Mr. Kates for creating these creepy stories.

Rating: 4/5
Recommendation: Buy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Importance of Focus

I've put in 8 hours since my last update (I know, it's been a week--I've been busy). 

Today is the last day you can get twenty our horror novels for FREE: Free Horror

If you haven't picked up all those books yet, you should now, before you have to end up paying for them.

I've been thinking a lot about focus lately. I suppose around my junior or senior year of college I began bringing my laptop to class, and I honestly believe that is when my ability to focus intensely on one particular item at a time started degrade. I suddenly had every piece of information I could ever need in front of me, as well as all my idiot friends posting all the time (unless you've bought my book, then you're smart as a whip). It was virtually a foregone conclusion that I would stop paying attention. My grades didn't suffer, but my learning did.

This has transferred itself to every piece of my life now. I constantly zone out, check my phone, check my tablet, check my email, check facebook, check twitter, check my book stats. I check everything all the goddamn time AS IF IT MATTERS. 

It doesn't. None of it does. It's counterproductive. 

I had been writing two hours per day, with all those interruptions (and don't even get me started when someone starts posting politics on Facebook, that can take away HOURS of my time while writing). I cut it in half and now have a strict rule that only my Work In Progress can be on my screen. The results?

I'm getting through more of End Times (my next book) than I was at 2 hours a day. 

I'm trying to import focus into the rest of my life, and I think it would be smart for you to as well. Stop checking your phone when you're at work, talking with someone, or reading. Focus on what's at hand--THAT is what is important, not anything else. 

When Einstein theorized, he used a single notepad, and a pencil. It didn't matter where he was at. Literally, he could be in a crowded room with people talking all around him, and his focus was so intense that he kept right on going. Get that kind of focus, and success is the only thing that is going to be able to interrupt you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What I Hope Busy Means

Put in probably around ten hours since the last time I came on here. 

As you can see, I'm reviewing novels now. If you're interested, check out the section. Caused some ruckus over at, but I promise I'm not as big of a dick as the review section makes me out to seem.

Reading my second indie novel ever, and it's much better than the first one. 

I'm constantly working, as you can see from my tongue and cheek post a week or so ago. I work fifteen hour days or more, every day. What do I consider work? I consider it anything that is producing a goal that I want--or hopefully producing it. So, literally, my entire day is filled with work. I take maybe a ten minute break when I wolf down food at night, and a ten minute break for lunch, but other than that I work.

My friend told me I was an idiot the other day for working on a Saturday. I told him that if I was still this poor in twenty years, then yes, I most definitely was an idiot for working like this. A lot of people die early from it, and honestly, that's something I worry about. Whether or not these crazy hours will end up shutting down my heart fifteen years earlier than it would have otherwise.

What I worry about more though, is that I won't make it. 

Thus, why I put in the hours every day.

I know beyond certainty that I want to write for a living. I want to get paid to write stories and, if need be, market them. This could all come to nothing though, could turn up in twenty more years that I'm still sitting here hammering on a keyboard while the computer screen glows into the night around me, and I'm broke and lonely because I spent my goddamn life working all the time.

Still, even that the thought of being lonely in my end doesn't bother me nearly as much as the thought of not having put in those hours and knowing that I never gave it a try.

I hope being busy, I hope putting in the hours and doing it intelligently, I hope it all means that one day these things will work out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Professional Review

Wrote a little over four hours since Monday.

My first professional review was done today. It's hard to explain what it feels like to be waiting on something like this, to see what someone else thinks about your work. I've heard from friends and a few people that don't know me, all of which have been decent. Here, though, is a guy who does this professionally and has never heard of me. 

What if the book doesn't add up? What if it gets a bad review? I mean, there's nothing I can do to hide that. I can't rewrite the book; I can't change what I've done. It's out of my hands, completely. It's a validation of fourteen months of work, and of five years of before that of working up to the point where you think you are capable of putting out a product that is ready for mass consumption. It's a validation of my life, at least in part.

Or a rejection of it.

Anyway, enough with the dramatic nonsense. The review was good: 4/5 stars on Amazon. Here's the link to the site:

Thanks to Mr. Jonathan DuHamel for agreeing to review it!

If you haven't bought it yet, whatcha waiting on, brah?

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Day in My Life

Wrote about seven hours since Thursday. Deleted an entire chapter, restarted it. Sucks because it slows me down but kicks ass because my book won't blow. Wow, that was a great sentence, huh? I can totally see Hemingway writing something like that.

Four blogs have agreed to review my book so far. Plus, I've been invited to the UGA author reception, where they will actually have my book for sale. Annnnddd I've been invited to take place in a Battle of the Books type bracket. Plus, the promo at the end of the month--which I'll announce soon.

I figured I'd give a day in my life right now, so you can all see how pathetic I am.

4:55 AM: Wake up and immediately think that ending my life would be preferable to waking up this early.

4:57 AM: Turn off alarm. Grab tablet. Check Facebook and email, because that shit is what is important in life, right?

5:00 AM: Dress in the shortest shorts I can and a cut off shirt. 

5:15 AM: Arrive in gym looking like I shop for shorts at Baby Gap and that my arms have never seen the sun. Ever.

5:30 AM: Grunt as I throw weight up.

5:45 AM: Finishing getting beastly. I have never had sex last as long as this workout does.

6:00 AM: Make twelve cups of coffee. Would gladly use drugs other than caffeine if they were legal and cheaper. Watch my dog glare at me because I know he has to piss.

6:01 AM: Begin writing.

6:15 AM: Think about quitting writing forever.

6:45 AM: Realize previous thought was horrible because I have been endowed with Ron Jeremy Legendary Status in the realm of writing.

7:!5 AM: Contemplate deleting the entire book.

7:45 AM: Finish writing. My brain is drained, my muscles are already beginning to become sore, and my roommates are finally waking up. My day has finally begun.

8:30 AM: With my dog still hating me but having pissed, I leave for school.

9:00 AM - 5 PM: I go to class and study. I make fun of people as much as possible as this brings me great joy. I get made fun of by people of lesser status than me and this brings me infinite sadness because I cannot harm them. I will most definitely anger at least one professor, perhaps two if I'm on that day. I have more on days than off days.

5 PM: Leave school wondering why I didn't just skip and write the whole day.

5:15 PM: Talk to my girlfriend who reminds me she likes nice things and I need to be able to buy them for her and am then reminded why I did not skip school and write--because I will always be poor as a writer.

5: 30 PM: Arrive home to more glares from my dog, Tucker. He hates me. He should. I am a horrible owner. I walk him. He is happy for a moment. I bring him back in; he hates me again.

6:00 PM: I market Dead Religion. This means I beg anyone I know, and a whole lot more people I don't know to read my book, review my book, and tell others about my book. There is nothing glamorous about this. At the end of each of these sessions I remind myself that I should quit writing, take my book offline, and probably cut my fingers off just to make sure I never do this to myself again.

7:00 PM: My fourteen hour day has ended. I am exhausted. My girlfriend is angry I haven't listened to her day. My dog is angry I haven't walked him more. My roommates are angry I haven't cleaned enough. My group members at school are mad I haven't done more and go to bed at 8 PM so they cannot call or text me after that time. I have made not a single person happy and have destroyed my body and mind.

8:00 PM: I get in bed. I read authors, who 80% of the time are about 100% worse than me but yet millionaires. There are exceptions to this, but they are so rare I want to rub sandpaper across my eyeballs most nights. 

9:00 PM: I fall asleep.

There you have. 16 hours all accounted for in the pathetic life of a newly published author with no fan base. If you ever think you have it bad, just come read this. 

At least 10 people will not commit suicide after reading how pathetic I am. I'm glad I've been able to help some.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Some Good News and Some Good News

Wrote 4.7 hours since Monday. Damn debate made me wake up late today.

I don't think I sound as polished as John Grisham, but I'm not a complete moron. I didn't go off about The Fed either, so that's a plus. I think I concentrate more on the art of writing than the book, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. If you have any thoughts on it, please let me know. Bill was extremely gracious and fun during the whole thing, and it was a great experience for me.

Got word back today that two book bloggers have agreed to review my book. This is super, super good news. One is in America and one is in the Philippines, and that's exciting. Now I just have to hope that I wrote a book they might like.

Using some facebook advertising. Want to see how well it works--hit 18,000 people today and spent $4.77 on it. Not bad. We will see about purchases. 

The new book is coming along good. It's so different from Dead Religion, and it's going to be long. Perhaps multiple books; I don't know yet. 

Including school, I'm working about 70 hours right now a week. I'm enjoying it though, and it appears some of this stuff is paying off.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Contest: I'm giving 10% of my profits to your favorite charity!

I'm not even going to attempt to count the hours I've racked up since the last time I wrote. I'll say I've been on a tear, already 9,000 words into the End Times. I'm hoping it's going to be around 100,000, so I'm moving along nice with that.

First, I want to say thanks to anyone who has purchased Dead Religion. I can't thank you enough. If you haven't, get it now, and gift it ten times (I kid, kinda): Buy Here. The reviews I'm getting back are all very positive, and that's good. I'm having trouble penetrating the horror market, everything so far has been word of mouth that stems from me or someone I know. Just gotta keep on keepin' on, though. Currently I put an hour a day into marketing, and I've been neglecting this blog. I'm going to get back onto blogging, Monday's and Thursday's--as it's necessary too. Holla at Meet My Husband for reminding me of that all the time.

So what's next? I have an interview tomorrow for my book, and I've done another interview that is going up at the end of November (takes forever, right?). Got something in the works for late October, kinda Halloween themed, which should be cool for any horror fans--teaming up with some other horror authors for it.

So, I'm going to do a pretty little contest that I doubt many people will participate in, but I'm going to give it a try anyway. This is what I want to do: whoever can convince the most people to buy my book, I'll do two things for them: 1) I'll name a character in End Times (my next book) after them, and they can decide the character attributes (up to a point, after all, creative control rests with me), and more importantly 2) I will dedicate 10% of all profits I make during the month of October with Dead Religion to a charity of your choice. 

Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.

Now, this is how you prove to me you did it: Simply have someone email (, comment here, tweet me (@engineofsociety), or facebook saying they bought it because you told them to. That's it. I'll trust you. Fairly simple, fairly easy, and in the end we're doing a good deed with charity.

We'll do it from today to 10/1/2012 until 10/11/2012.

Questions? Just drop me a line the same way.

Hope you guys decide to participate.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Making the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Put in about 15 hours over the past week.

I basically got robbed of about $250 bucks with my cover artist and that is the hold up on the book. Luckily, I found someone new: Renu Sharma. She's a genius, and also not going to fuck me over. I'll write up the problem with my other cover artist as soon as I get everything squared away with PayPal.

I've decided to go ahead with this next book. I've got a title, End Times. I'm really not sure if it's got any mass appeal, but if I can get it right--it certainly will entertain me.

When I wrote Dead Religion, I was maybe 10-15k words in when I deleted everything and started over. 

I saw today that the same thing is happening tomorrow on this one. Only, this time, I'm just 3,500 words in. Three thousand of them have to go. It sucks, will put me back some time, but I'm telling it all wrong, and this seems to be a recurring theme with my novels.

It takes some time to figure out the story in your ahead, and given my aversion to plotting, I guess this is normal. I titled this Making the Same Mistakes. They're necessary though. 

Allowing yourself to make mistakes allows you to reach as close to perfection as you can. We normally try to push these mistakes away, or sometimes consider ourselves failures, or even get fired over them. The profession I've chosen, writing, doesn't punish these mistakes--but allows you flourish because of them. I think that's something other professions could learn, if they could slow for a second. Mistakes allow growth, allow us to see the correct path.

Mistakes allow us to become perfect.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beginning Again

Put in about six hours since my last update. Got super drunk Friday which meant no writing on Saturday. Put in my time today though.

Got another 5 book bloggers on my list to hit up when this book comes out. All I'm waiting on now is the cover. Really getting tired of waiting. Really getting tired of writing about getting tired of waiting. Just want it to be out.

I started a new book this past week, and I don't want to say this is the hardest beginning I've ever had, because I do remember deleting like 15,000 words in two different novels--but it is certainly tough. I stopped during my period of writing twice today, for like ten minutes, and thought whether or not I could write a book like this. I kept writing, but I'm still not sure. 

I'm about a thousand words in, and the book will be at least 70,000 words, with perhaps multiple volumes to complete it. This will probably be the biggest thing I've attempted yet, but that doesn't scare me. That's not why I'm doubting this.

I'm unsure how it's going to play out. The beginning and the end are solid in my mind, as they always are when I start a novel--but the whole middle piece is a cloud. The idea of being able to turn this into something exciting, because believe me--it seems like much of the middle has to be dull as of right now--is beyond daunting. 

I'm going to write on it some more this week. There's a character I'm developing that I think I've already fallen in love with, partly because he's the only character that is based largely off of me--or rather, what I wish I could be. I don't want to just give up on it, because I remember feeling much the same with the other three novels I wrote in the beginning. A vague uneasiness that there is no way I can put this all onto paper. Or the computer screen, I suppose.

I'm going to plug away, and hopefully my mind is able to grasp the words that will get this thing out of my head. If not, I'll be pretty disappointed.

I really like falling in love with myself, and such.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Importance of Connections

Four hours so far this week. I'm considering by the domain name Would revamp the site, and all that good stuff, but I think it might be necessary. Running this thing off blogspot is nice and easy, but I can't do everything I want with the site. Just a thought.

I'm a believer that connections are everything. They're at least as important as talent. More important than hard work. In life, when you break everything down to the fundamentals, all you really have is connections. Friendships, lovers, family, colleagues. Everything builds from that. 

Don't believe me? Piss off a teacher in school and see how much extra help you get. Become a teacher's pet and see how much you improve in a year. You're route in life, from a very early age, is determined by the relationships you form.

This is a problem for me. Two things bug me above all else: rudeness and stupidity. I'm not always the most tactful person, but I honestly try to treat people with respect. When someone doesn't do that though, either to me or to someone else that I know, it's hard for me to hold my tongue. It's hard for me not to snap back. 

A mid level exec once told me that if you want to move forward in business (or life), someone has to be able to come into your office, take a shit on your desk, and you have to be able to smile and say thanks. I'm working on this, but it's tough. I won't go into my horrible psychology that makes me nearly unable to tolerate that behavior, but it's important that I get rid of it. It's important that even when disrespected, I respond with respect and not anger.

Because, what we're talking about here, are relationships. We're talking about future friends and acquaintances. We're talking about book sales. We're talking about furthering ourselves in life. I'm 26, and I don't know much about the world, but I believe that to be true. 

You can do nothing without other's investment, and to get that investment, you have to build relationships. You have to deal with rude people; you have to deal with stupidity. This might seem a bit Randian, or Darwinistic, that I'm saying we build relationships to further ourselves--but if you don't think that's true, then I'm not sure you're thinking about this the right way. Even with love, we are trying to find happiness, so we build a world with someone else who will help fulfill this happiness. It's self interest that does it. 

Build relationships, do it genuinely whenever possible, and fake it if you have to. But build them. Have someone that you can call for any situation and know that they'll answer. Be the person that someone can call in any situation, and make sure you answer. It's the only way to move ahead.

And remember to smile.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How I Wrote It

Tomorrow the editing begins. I'm ready for it. Ready to be done with this, ready to be put it out into the world. Ready to hear some form of feedback. 

I have other book ideas, but pushing those out aren't really concerning me right now. Having this done, that is all that really matters. 

I'm trying to setup book tours right now. One author emailed over 500 book bloggers. I'm going through a company to do it--I'm going to outsource until it gets to expensive to do so.

Onto today's topic.

For writers, I think there is a certain uncertainty when it comes to the specific way they write. I know there was for me for a long time. Actually, up until this novel I did not figure out the way that I write best. I've been writing since I was nineteen and I wrote this novel at the ripe, old age of 25. That's six years of writing, plus serious studying of how other writers completed their works. 

So I figure, I'll lay out my path to completing a novel in case anyone is ever interested. It took two novels for me to get there, two novels and another writer beating the shit out of me every time I let him look at a piece of my work. All I cared about was pushing out ideas, getting them on paper as fast as I could, and moving onto next. This led to a prolific amount of words, but quite a few of them were horrible.

So when I sat down to write this novel, I said: Beers, you gotta slow down. How can you make yourself slow down? 

The answer was easy. Write with a blindfold over your eyes. 

I kid, I kid.

What I did was write two pages. Then I went back and hand wrote those two pages, then typed them back up. 

That didn't work either. It kept breaking the creative process, so by the time I finished rewriting, I had forgotten where in the hell the chapter was headed. So I needed a way to slow down and to keep the creativity flowing.

I decided to do the same thing, but with chapters. As I was writing, I read a book by Joe Hill, and at the end he said he had five drafts for the thing. The most I had ever done was two, and that's what I appeared to be doing now.

What did that tell me? I wasn't slowing down enough. 

Currently, I was typing out a chapter, handwriting, and then retyping it in. I decided to add two more steps to it. Once I had retyped the chapter, I printed it out, read it over and made corrections on paper. Then I put the corrections back in. Finally, I read the chapter aloud, making corrections there.

I did that through 70,000 words. Each chapter constructed by itself, my mind almost lost in it--but I think somewhere the rest of the story was working its way out in the back of my mind. Truly, it was the easiest plotting I ever did. Chapter after chapter just came next, without me actually sitting down and writing a single word of plot out (I don't care what anyone says, plotting is the devil). What's crazy, is that it didn't take much editing of the whole book to make the whole plot fit--the pieces just fell where they should, and I think that's because I immersed myself in each chapter and allowed my brain to work through the rest while I was focusing elsewhere.

It took a lot longer to write this one, but I think the end result is a lot better.

Oh yeah, once I finished it, I went back and edited it once more.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Reviews and a Quid Pro Quo

I'm looking for some help: I need some people to help me write the 'back of the book' or basically the blurb describing what the book is about. If you're interested in this, I'll buy you a paperback copy of the book and sign it--like that's worth something right? I'm not looking for tons of people, but perhaps two. The first two people to shoot me an email (, comment on here, or contact me in any other way will get the free signed copies, and then once I've made  a few mil, you can sell them for a couple grand. Sounds fair to everyone right? Okay, onto the blog.

Haven't written anything outside of this blog in two weeks. Will start the last round of edits on my novel, Dead Religion, Monday. Hopefully will be done in two weeks. Another week for formatting, then publishing.

A friend of mine that blogs at Meet My Husband told me she felt nervous about her first blog post. Nervous about reaction, about what people think. I'm fairly sure that every writer feels what they've written is excellent, perfecto, friendo. I've edited work that made me want to sand paper my eyeballs it was so bad, but the author thought it was good. Loved it, in fact. Still though, no matter how much we believe in our work--there's always that fear that others will hate it. That other's will think were a fraud, cheap, not worth the time. 

I told her it never left. I also told her that's how you know you care about your fans.

I had two reviews on my writing this past week. One was a comment on this blog: I wish you luck with the writing. You're going to need it. 

There are two ways that can be read: A) I'm horrible, and need a lot of luck, or B) it's a hard racket. I imagine the guy meant A, and honestly, it bothered me a bit. Not a whole lot, but it always makes you wonder--is he right? Am I that bad?

The next day my editor turned my book back into me. This was her comment on the novel: First, let me say that I enjoyed this very much. You are very good at anticipation and suspense. Even if I hadn’t been reading this as a proofreader, I would have to’ve finished just to see how it ends, how any of these people were going to make it out of this situation. Then, of course, [redacted]. WTF? You have a wicked clever imagination and can put down a good story. I was invested til the end.

That's a stronger reaction than I could hope for. So in under twenty four hours I was shit and good. I almost wrote that I'm not sure how to take that, but I am. Fuck that other guy.

The book though, I was worried, because it's tricky. The timeline in it doesn't follow chronologically. It switches back and forth between the present, the past, and the deep past--almost at whim. I don't 'time stamp' it, meaning give you a direct mention that says: HEY, THIS TAKES PLACE IN THIS PAST, or, THIS IS HAPPENING NOW. There's a subtle clue at the beginning of each switch, but that's it--the reader must keep two stories simulataneously in his mind. This worried me, whether I would lose the reader or not. 

The editor had this to say on it: Time stamps. I actually liked that you didn’t put dates for each scene that went to the past or the future, or [redacted] time that is future from [redacted{. That was part of the interesting part of trying to figure out what was going on. Some editors might insist on putting those in, since that’s the way it’s usually done. I hope you’re able to go with your gut on that.

I'm going to go with my gut and leave it the way it is. There's no real reason for it other than it feels right--it gives the story more of an 'epic' feeling, I think. 

I have no idea if this thing is going to sell beyond my friends. I'm going to bust my ass, have busted my ass, but that might not mean much. Luck comes into play--people's willingness to spread the word as well. All in all though, I feel pretty good about what I've heard so far.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Where has PhilaLawyer Gone?

This is an angry, pissed off letter to a man I do not know, nor will ever know, and morally have no right to be mad at. In fact, my moral compass says I have no place to tell him what to do at all, and am an asshole for doing this. What's more, I'm poking a stick at a lion, someone that could wipe me up with his shoes if he wanted. But Fuck It. He's slacked for too goddamn long.

A few times in life you come across someone's writing that means something. Someone that has something to say, and can say it so powerfully, it should be criminal for his words not to be forced into everyone's hands. That's not enough though. He has to come around at a time when he is needed. When society is ripe and ready to hear his words, to take them to heart, to change.

I thought I had found this man with PhilaLawyer. He writes an anonymity because of his scouring remarks on the legal profession, and as far as I know, there aren't even any pictures of him. I read his blog around 2006/7ish. Got his book in 2008. Based LIFE-FUCKING-DECISIONS off his book. Don't regret them in the slightest; the words he wrote were able to steer me through some decisions and I would never be where I am right now without having read Happy Hour is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World's Worst Profession. If you haven't read that book yet, do it. Order it now (hence the link). It will change your life, or it should--and if it doesn't, you have some serious work to do.

So this guy writes a good amount on his blog. Puts out a book that deeply impacted a good number of people.

Then...he's put out about 29 blog posts since 2010.

A good many of them are humor pieces--such as The Bush Deficit.While this is more clever than most comics on Comedy Central; it is, in the end, somewhat a waste of his time. I wouldn't even give a shit, honestly, if he was producing material that was changing the world--as he is certainly capable of doing. He could talk about anything he fucking wanted as long as he put a book out more than once a decade. I might even let the man sleep with my future wife.

PhilaLawyer has a purpose here, and while I don't know this man's personal schedule, nor the constraints on his time--I do know that in no way should it take someone that has his gift of words this long to string together 70,000 of them. This is a time where we need thinkers, leaders, and people that get it to fucking step up and begin demanding that someone notice.

I'm an ideologue, and PhilaLawyer would most likely say something to the tune of: "wanting the perfect keeps us from ever even getting to the good." Fine. Fine. Fine. Then help us get to the goddamn good. Help us do something besides your once a month posts on a law website. 

Wherever this guy is, and whatever he's doing: HE NEEDS TO PICK IT THE FUCK UP. Start writing. Start changing things. Whatever is making you wait, put it aside, so that you can help this shitty place move forward.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where Ideas Come From

So there's not much to write at the moment. I'm spending a lot of time scouring the internet, finding forums, and the like. Obviously much of this to build a platform, but I'm finding I actually enjoy it. Reading what others have to say on literature, or interacting with strangers on twitter, or asking questions that haven't been thought of yet all have their own satisfaction. I'm enjoying it and don't mind it one bit at all. 

I wanted to write a post on something I've been asked about a few times, and something that I don't really have to think about much--it just happens: where the stories come from. For the past fourteen months or so I have very few ideas for new novels. By very few, I mean I've had three. In the past week though, since I've known I was wrapping up Dead Religion, I've had maybe five ideas. 

It's like my mind knows where the creative energy needs to be going and when it needs to be going there. When I'm writing on a large piece, virtually nothing comes to me in the form of ideas for new work. When I'm done, everything I look at becomes a story. I was walking through the Air and Space Museum, and saw some of the old WWII uniforms. A story hit me at the site of them.

I think, though, that the most important--the strongest stories, for me at least--come from songs. Dead Religion was inspired from Hotel California. The line that says "you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave." That one line spawned a 71,000 word novel. Things changed, and the story expanded in ways I never knew when I heard that line, but the basic story is still here. 

Regina Spektor's Samson is definitely a novel that I'm going to write. It's one of the most beautiful and powerful songs I've ever heard, and made me think about Delilah, the biblical character, in a much different fashion.

My next book came from one line from AWOLNATION: kill your heroes. I'm still working out a lot of shit in my mind about it, but the underlying meaning of those words has a really good story in it.

I can put on Snow Patrol's Eyes Open CD and there is literally a story in every song.

A line from The Killers still sticks with me, but I haven't been able to find out the story behind it yet: they say the devil's water, it ain't so sweet, but you don't have to drink right now.

I'm not sure how my mind does this. I'm not sure if it makes me more or less creative, given that I'm using ideas others have already spun to create novels. There's not a lot I can do about it, either way.

So, according to this one post, I have about 4 novels to write. 

I'm okay with a back list.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Draft Done

Put in about another nine hours over the past week. Didn't do much at all on the weekend, or Friday. 

Finished a book called Indie Publishing, helped some in the marketing realm and a lot in the publishing realm.

So, the first draft (which really means 6th) is done. I sent it to my editor this morning, and she is going to be the first person to read the thing. I'm nervous. Before writing those two words, I thought if that's what I meant, and I don't think it is. I'm fucking scared. I spent about fourteen months working on this thing. I gave up a lot of time that could have been spent with those I care about, and I put my heart into this thing. I cried at parts when writing and was genuinely scared at others. All of that is a very womanesque way of saying that I put a lot of work into it. I gave it my best.

Now the first person is going to read it and that's going to be a gauge of how well I did. There's going to be a lot more work to put into it, probably another 30-60 hours once her edit is done, but the core of the book is there. The story is told. It either works or it doesn't.

That's scary. 

It worked for me though. 

That's not enough to allow me to do this for a living, but it's still something.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Short Stories

Put in another 4 hours over the past few days.

This will be a brief post. My friend, Mister Grider--also marketing guru, told me that I should begin making this a central hub for my writing endeavors. I was planning on doing this, but was dragging my feet. Mister Grider decided I would no longer drag them.

So if you look at the top, you'll see a new page called stories. I wrote short stories for probably three years before I attempted my first novel. I have a lot of them, some good, a lot horrible. Since I started writing novels I haven't written many shorts, but I want to change that. I'm finishing up the novel here shortly, and in the time between getting this one and beginning my next one (which a song from AWOLNATION, Kill Your Heroes, inspired), I'm going to write some more shorts. Most of them are horror, although sometimes I'll venture into the world of romance.

Anyways, feel free to peruse. If you wanna donate a quarter or something, feel free to do that as well. If you wanna share them, or leave a comment--all is welcome. I have nearly a thousand hits on this blog, and only one comment--not sure what the means. Starting a convo is always good; so if you're lurking and disagree, agree, think I should shut the fuck up, or that I'm a horrible writer: tell me. I'd love to hear any of it.
Just don't talk shit about Ron Paul, bro.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm an Idiot

Put in nearly fourteen hours over the past week.

Have blog searched the f out of the internet. Also read everything Amanda Hocking wrote up until she quit her job and became famous. 

Side note: this chick, Amanda Hocking, wrote like five novels. No one would represent them and no one would publish them. She blogged the entire time this was happening. Her blog consisted of alternating posts between how great her books were and how bad she felt that no one would publish them. Then within ten months, she goes from lamenting her life to: "Quit my job today. Full time writer now." Congrats! and...Fuck you. That's just the jealous part of me talking. 

All I need to do is start writing young adult paranormal romance novels and the paychecks should start rolling in. Although, I'd probably give myself a new smile from ear to ear before I ever saw one.

This blog post does have a point, believe it or not. One that I've touched on tangentially, but not directly--so I want to comment on it. Obviously, the majority of the stuff I write about is going to be based on my life as a starving writer, but I honestly hope that you can take these thoughts and apply them somewhere to your craft or passion. 

I was talking to a friend the other day about how boring my life was. She said what are you doing? I replied that I had spent ten minutes studying a sentence and trying to decide how to fix it. Exciting, right? 

She said she used to write, but sucked at it, so she quit.

That kind of stunned me for a second. My response was: We all suck. That's why we practice.

God, if you read any of the first pieces I wrote, it's like I had never read a book. Even now, editing this novel, their are whole passages where I just think I should set fire to my laptop and never even contemplate writing another sentence. That's after six years of at least writing thirty minutes every day and probably a lot more. Fuck, that's after 18 years of writing through school and training at universities. I still suck.

I'm not sure about all professions, but as a writer you have to be supremely confident or supremely stupid. Luckily, I was both. I sat down and wrote a short story at nineteen years old and was completely sure that I would be a multimillionaire from writing. Let me say that again: I knew, from the first 2,000 words I put down on paper that I was going to be paid money for the rest of my life to do it. That sounds fucking ridiculous. It would be like a kid picking up a basketball, and knowing without any doubt that he was going pro. In my mind though, I had already become the greatest horror writer of my generation. So it would be like a kid picking up the ball and KNOWING he was going to be the next Michael Jordan. The difference between this kid and eye, though, is that I was nineteen.

Supremely stupid.

I didn't care how much I sucked; I didn't care how far I would have to go. I just didn't care about anything. I was a writer from that moment on, and more, I believe all those things now. My friend quit writing, and maybe that's what separates an artist from someone else. An artist already knows they've made it, they're just waiting for the rest of the world to realize it.

You ever done something and knew from that moment forth there was nothing else for you? That you had met your destiny? Maybe it was meeting your husband or wife. Maybe it was looking at your first born child. Maybe it was killing zombies in a video game. I don't know what it might be for you, but find it. Actively search it out. Then when you find it, don't care about sucking--because you will, and hard, but care about becoming better.

Care about not quitting.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Put in six hours since our last talk.

Settled on my cover designer. He's really into minimalist designs, as am I--so I think creatively we should see eye to eye.

I think that I have a high propensity of fear. Blame it on a troubled child hood or a rough neighborhood, it doesn't really matter why. It's there though. The fear normally takes the form of failure--that something isn't going to work, or that I'm not going to live up to my own expectations. 

Some say fear is healthy, and by some, probably everyone. I'm not sure I believe that, at least not the fear that I feel. Fear makes you want to stop. Writing, working, exercising, dieting, growing--in general, it makes you want to stop trying

Sure, fear of death is good. It makes you stop trying stupid shit like fucking texting while driving--no one does that anymore, right? But fear of life, not death, is detrimental. I cannot fathom a way that fear of life would not be harmful. 

Everyone has fears: my significant other will leave me, they'll find out I don't know what I'm talking about, my work experience isn't enough for this job, I need an education to get a fucking job but don't have the money for school, my dick is too small. I mean this list could go on and on forever. Everyone of those fears those is something that your mind throws in the way to stop you from trying. I heard a quote a long time ago, one of those cliche things people throw around and never really live by, that said: What would you do if you knew you couldn't be stopped? 

If you think about that statement, just really let it sink into your bones--the power of it wipes out all doubts and fears and lets you see what is really important to you. I'm not sure how much luck plays into this life we live, but I'm really beginning to believe the main thing stopping any of us from doing what we want is that twinkle of fear that pops up whenever we care about something. That fear that makes us think, not me--I'm not made for this, something is going to fuck this all up. 

If you get rid of that, all that's left is the entire world. If we can start thinking success is guaranteed; that there is no such thing as failure--how would we change? Every action we make in every day would be different because everything we did would be building onto our legacy, onto our fucking empire, because there'd be nothing to stop us. We should start living by that little mantra, and realize success is our birthright.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pay It Forward, Brah

Put in two hours this morning.

Talked to two people about book covers, discussed marketing strategies with a world famous blogger, researched Amanda Hocking.

So, I'm at a highly ranked MBA school. My grades are high. I'm at a pretty prestigious internship in the field of education. I've written a novel this year. That's a lot of shit to be proud of right there.

However, the single most thing I'm proud of in the past year was when I helped a very dear friend of mine, who was EXTREMELY down on his luck find a job in the career he had chosen but been forced out of. All the rest is just nonsense. That right there made me tear up when I found out he had the job, and even writing this right now, means more to me than all the rest (except maybe the novel, but I'm also a selfish prick).

Today I had a good friend of mine--he runs 70's Big--take an hour out of his day to sit down and talk to me about how he's made that site into basically a fucking movement. He introduced me to two other people that he thinks could help my book (titled Dead Religion in case anyone cares), and also started mentioning ways we could monetize this erotica craze. He didn't have to do that. The dude gets paid to write, workout, and walk around with his shirt off--so what if I used to give him my apples at lunch in 9th grade: HE DOESN'T OWE IT TO ME.

I got off the phone with him and talked to an upcoming 1st year MBA student. I don't know him from Adam. I was honest with him and did my best to explain the pitfalls I went through and the things to expect in school. Nothing life changing, but I tried to help.

Obama was right about that in his little speech that he's taking so much heat for. We all need help. We all need to give help. This writing thing is going to eventually work out. Maybe not this book and maybe not the next one, but at some point there will be a critical mass of fans. Throughout the entire process I'll help as many writers as I can, as well as any other profession that contacts me--and when I have a yacht, I'll do my best to find service in international waters so that I can calls for people there too. 

Helping people is the second most important thing I do in my life, besides write stories. I hope it's somewhere in your top three--because without it, no one gets anywhere. What's worse, I think a lot of what's good in life disappears. Maybe all of it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting Lost

Put in about three hours since the last post.

Thought through a marketing plan then scrapped most of it. Researched covers, pricing strategies, distributors, formatters. Trust me, it's about as boring as it sounds.

One of my friends, who is a straight fucking bitch, stopped me in the middle of my spouting off the beautiful knowledge that I always do to say: blah blah, writing, book, blah, angry comment.  

Yeah, she's a bitch.

But, I think she was right too. I got lost today reading other people's bullshit. That's what it was, just their thoughts on publishing and being a writer and oh, how hard it is. Pretty much destroyed my brain; I thought about cutting off my hands so that I could never type out another story.

This game is simple:
1) Love the craft and write something worth reading
2) Make it visually appealing to the reader
3) Get as many people as possible to pay for it.

That's what I have to focus on. Whatever you're doing, business, music, law--that's what you have to focus on too.

Don't let anyone pull you off that track; getting lost is easy to do.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Working and such...

First, I really like the Arial font. I don't know why.
Second, I put in about three more hours of writing since my last update.

Most people go to work for 8-10 hours, come home, and spend time with their family, workout, watch television, or whatever else fancies them. That's fine. That's what keeps this world humming along at its pace. Most people enjoy their work, or hate their work, or somewhere in between--but it's basically a way to supply them with a comfortable life. Once again, this is fine.

For me, however, I think I'd rather peel my skin off and walk neck deep into salty ocean water. 

I write because I feel a basic need, not as strong as breathing, but something close. However, I also need to supply myself with a comfortable life--this is where my work comes in. I've been studying, nightly, the writer's that came before me (or, more accurately, the marketers). This has been work for me--after I finish my 8-10 hour day, I spend another 2-3 studying. Thinking. Planning. This isn't enough though, because all this stays within my own head.

Nothing inside your own head is going to do the world one bit of good.

Given that I feel my stories will add benefit to the world, I have to get these ideas out.

So I need more work. So from now on, every update I put on here is going to have what I'm doing outside of the actual writing--the need I have--to further my name as a writer. This isn't simply to brag, or to show people how far I'm willing to go; I'm doing it to keep myself honest. I can't tell you 6.5 readers I'm going to do something, then not do it. 

Today, I edited a story a stranger sent me. In my response I simply asked him to take a look at my blog if he ever gets a chance. It's a simple little nod, but I absolutely hate it when my first point of contact with someone is: hey man, I got a book coming out, keep up to date with all my stuff and then buy it. That shit happens all the time. Don't believe me? Go follow a writer on Twitter. I guaran-fucking-tee that within a day or two, you'll get someone selling you something. That's silly to me. I want to build a fan base, and fans--to me--are simply relationships. Will this guy ever check out my blog? Maybe. Maybe not. Still, I put my name out there.

I also studied some more. J.A. Konrath is a goddamn genius when it comes to marketing books. I'm not a huge fan of his writing, but the guy just straight pushes the envelope when it comes to marketing. I just used 'when it comes to' twice in two sentences--obviously, I have some work to do with my own writing. I think that the studying will die down within a month or so and I'll begin more action, but I have to know what to do before I can do it.

From now on I won't be as in depth about what I'm doing to further my name, but I wanted to give you an example. I'm sure some of you out there aren't simply doing the 9-5 thing, but have some big goals. If you do, you HAVE to work outside of the 9-5 to accomplish them--you have to be building those relationships. This doesn't only apply to writing; it applies to anything you want to be successful at. At the core, there are only individuals with the only thing connecting us being relationships.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shaping The World

Put in six more hours since the last post.

I'm coming to realize the writing is the easy part. As a young writer, and by young I mean beginning, I had some really great influences around me. They taught me about the craft, about the importance of words--about the beauty of it all. They taught me about the seriousness you must approach the keyboard with, and that sloppiness isn't acceptable. They taught me how to write, and while I may do it poorly, it certainly wasn't for their lack of teaching. These people though, all of them, focused not one wit on marketing. 

The more I move into the marketing role of an entrepreneur (which self publishing authors most definitely are), the more I realize it's all about relationships. Even this run away best selling bullshit of a book, Fifty Shades, is about relationships. Women's relationships with their own sexuality or lack there of it. 

I have a goal and I'm afraid to actually say it out loud, because that means you're held accountable, right? No one wants to be accountable, not when the fucking coin is still flipping in the air and it's probably weighted so that it's most likely not going to fall on the side you need it to. Still, time's running short. I'm 25, been writing since I was nineteen, and it's time to get serious. My goal is a 500,000 books sold in five years.

That's half a million relationships I have to build. Build them strong enough so that they feel spending 5-8 bucks on a book isn't a waste. Relationships are best built face to face, hand to hand, and all rely on trust. I've got maybe one hundred people right now I can count to buy my book; that might even be a stretch. So all I have to do is find the other 499,900 that are looking for something to read. 

That's daunting and I used to think it was out of my control. I used to think I do the work of writing and the writing will do the rest of the work for me. That's not true. Work your ass for twenty years at work and neglect the politics, see how far you rise. The same is true here. This is in my control, not in an agent's hands, not in a publisher's. It's up to me, and there's something about that I like. When you read about artists, or even business men--people are constantly fucking up their work. Not getting the intricacies and not caring about the brand as much as the creator does. Dave Chapelle hated Half Baked, thought it was movie for kids about smoking pot. He lost his creative control and then lost his movie. With the route I'm choosing, I don't lose the creative control. Everything, from the first word to the cover, is in my control. 

I'm already shopping around for editors, trying to find someone who fits my style--I wouldn't be able to do that with any other route. That's power there; that's the ability to shape the world as you want.

People shirk from that power because it's also the power to fail.

I think you either shape your world or someone else shapes it for you. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finding Leaders

Been a week since I've last posted. Been busy with a wedding and drinking on the 4th of July--no reason not to lament the destruction of our ideals on the day we were birthed, right? Anyways, put in about 8 hours since the last time we spoke.

Ever since I got into the writing racket, about 5-6 years ago, I've actively searched out the greatest in the field. I've read Stephen King's On Writing three times. I've researched how everyone from Anthony Trollope to Dean Koontz writes their books. I've read blogs until my eyes have bled ink on things from plot to character building. I have had amazing authors completely destroy two of my novels, break me down until I'm a crying child. I read fucking Moby Dick. Have you read Moby Dick? No, probably not, because it was written like two hundred years ago and has no connection to anything now. Wanna know why I read that long ass, ultimately boring novel? Because Herman Melville was a goddamn genius.

I've researched these people because to ever attempt what they've done, I have to know what they've done.

I know a guy who does a lot of work on websites. I mean, the cat is constantly talking about the 11-12 hour days he works. His websites look a shit ton better than anything I could design (notice why I'm using Google's Blogger?), but I'm not sure he's growing as a creator. I can go back and look at something he put out 3 years ago and compare it to today, and the similarities are so striking that it makes me think no growth has occurred. I don't know, I could be completely fucking wrong about it--I'm only going off what the eye sees, but in the end, isn't that all that matters?

I'm finding leaders now in another realm: marketing. Everything in life, whether it's the shoes you put on your feet or the job interview you're wearing them to, is all about marketing. I'm shit at marketing right now--outside of the academic sense of the word, I know nothing. So that's what I'm doing, I'm studying those that came before me: the writers that are millionaires, the bloggers who have massive followings, anyone who can teach me anything about getting this book into the hands of people.

Prolly six people read this site. Six and a half if you count midgets as people, but I don't, so just six. Do any of you six have any leaders? If so, who? If not, why?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Taking Your Time

Put in two hours today. 

I saw a sign yesterday, a huge one in the back of a car that said "not in a hurry to be somewhere." 

It made me stop and think for a bit. Ya see, I am in a hurry. For as long as I can remember I've been in a hurry: to make money, to get till Friday, to have sex--whatever was in front of me, I was in a hurry to get it done.

The first novel I wrote was like that. So was the second one. Both were just balls to the wall, finish this thing so that I can put it out and make a bunch of money. The result? I wrote two shitty novels that could have sold, but certainly weren't up to any sort of a standard a writer should have for themselves.

With this novel, I've slowed down. I mean slooowwwweeeddd down. It used to take me about an hour, maybe an hour fifteen to finish a thousand words. It takes me almost five hours now. I don't know what the results are going to be, whether my five friends will buy it because I make them, or I'll be updating this blog from a yacht next year--or something in between. Either way though, I know the story is much better. I know when I wrote a scene today, I cried in it, that's how strong I feel the characters and their relationships are. I know that I understand the plot, the intricacies, and the parts that need editing much more. 

By slowing down I've created a better product. I'm no fan of Steve Jobs, he was an arrogant, narcissist, who made the lives of the people he was supposed to care about absolutely miserable. However, he understood creation as well as anyone I've ever read about. He understood the product, the good, was all that mattered (besides marketing). The money you made, the fame you got, that was all a side effect. All made possible by the product.

I truly do not care if anyone ever compares me to an Ernest Hemmingway or William Shakespeare (which they won't ever dream of doing, I'm certainly not saying anyone should), but I do care that I've done the best I can given my abilities. I do care that I've looked at my word choices, that I can argue why I've chosen them and if I can't, then I throw them out. 

Take your time on the things that matter to you. I won't say the end results don't matter, because indeed, that's all that does--however, taking your time is the only way to make them happen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Problem With 20 Under 20

Put in about five hours since my last post, which was probably not the most uplifting thing many of you have read. Just finished a little bit over an hour session, breaking through the 65k word count on the novel. It should be done by the end of August, which is all hunky dory, and I'm sure the five readers of this site will love to buy a copy.

Let's move on though, to something I think is antithetical to the 10,000 'rule'. This 20 under 20 thing that was started recently. The basis of the entire thing is: drop out of college and compete for $100,000 to begin a start up company. Oh yeah, you gotta be under 20 years old too. First, I want to say that I have a huge man-crush on Peter Thiel. He is an innovator, libertarian, and probably a genius. More important, he puts his money where his mouth is. He doesn't just sit around talking about the college bubble; he does something about it. All of that is to be admired and emulated. Especially the libertarian part (hint hint). 

This scholarship though, or fellowship, is a radical step to help fix this economy, but I'm not sure it's the right one. I'm not doubting that these twenty year olds are bright and far more mature than the rest of their peers. They probably have ideas that beat all the ideas me and my friends will ever have, combined. That's not saying much, given that the major decisions my friends make are whether to smoke pot on the couch or in the garage. Still, what I'm doing a poor job of saying is: I think these kids definitely have a lot going for them.

Even with that, what Thiel is doing violates the ten thousand hour 'rule'. These kids aren't experts in what they're doing; some might be, or might be close, but the vast majority just haven't had the time to put in the necessary hours to be masters at their craft. That's probably not what Thiel is aiming for, but the people that change the world--the ones that vault to the head of their class have all put the necessary time in. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Michael Jordan. Stephen King. Tiger Woods. Murray Rothbard, and goddamn it, even Paul Krugamn. Years and years dedicated to reading those before them and evolving their ideas. These kids--smart, gifted, talented--are still just kids. Inexperienced and lacking the skills and knowledge to change the world at this point. His two year fellowship simply isn't long enough for the impact to be there. Even if the kids could work 12 hour days, every day of every week, at the intensity it takes to commit 'deliberate practice'--it would still take them over two years (2.28) to be considered masters. I applaud Thiel for what he's doing, for trying to get people out of the fucking mindset of college as the end all, be all in education and progress. But if he's going to do it, he's got to make the commitment to get the kids the hours they need--to make them masters at whatever business or field they're in.

The 20 under 20 is a great idea, but I don't think it's being executed properly. I know that takes balls as big as melons to even say to someone like Peter Thiel, but if he's wanting to make the impact that he claims to--why not add another two years to the fellowship? Why not make sure when these kids leave your tutelage, they're ready to be the leaders in their field? To take on the world and all other comers? In short, with the power you have, why not make them masters?