Friday, October 13, 2017

Plodding Through Plot Problems

Cover Concept Art
My last book came out on Valentine's Day this year (2017). I've been working on and off on another novella, but a few other things have taken from my book writing time AND, when I have been writing, it's been a struggle with my present work. There have been plot perplexities, which I am now working out...when I have the time.

It's not that I'm not writing.

This year I've done a lot of work for local news services and a magazine, not to mention editing and other business writing work. So, I have my excuses, I guess. (Don't we all?) We've been running Harbor House Writing Center this year and we opened Harbor BOOKs & Gifts in September, too.

I wanted to get the new Bayou Boys Adventure, Alien Ambush, out for Thanksgiving 2017 (because the story takes place over the holiday and addresses timely matters).

That may still be possible, but it will be a challenge. I have about fifteen writing days to write half the work (that's 15K words) and then it still has to go through editing and polishing and formatting within the three weeks following.

I may yet do it, but some days I just have too many other things on my mind and on my plate. And honestly, I'm pretty lazy, too. So, please, bear with me. Maybe say a little prayer for me as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fall into Books

I can't believe it's been since July that I last posted here! I guess, I might have been busy. LOL

The truth of the matter is that I have. I've been doing a lot of freelance writing and editing as well as working toward opening a bookstore in Aberdeen, Wash. And then there was a week of vacation, too.

Anyway, here's the update:

The bookstore, Harbor BOOKS & Gifts, will open Saturday, Sept. 16. The grand opening open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and there are lots of reasons (books) to come on out if you can. You can find out more at the website.

Like I said, I've been writing, just not on a book. I do have one in process (a good portion of the writing done) and another in planning. I plan to finish the first (the fourth Bayou Boys Adventure book, Alien Ambush) by the end of October and have it available by Thanksgiving (as it takes place over that holiday).

Our writing center, Harbor House, has an exciting array of fall offerings, too. You can see that at the website as well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I'll be Selling & Signing Books @ the Aberdeen Art Walk

I'll be at the Aberdeen Art Walk this Saturday, July 22. 

I ordered in a new supply of my books so I'll have all my titles available, plus a couple of other's
works. My booth will be on Broadway right next door to the quilt shop. Stop by and buy a book and I'll sign it. I'm running some super deals, too!

For those who do not know I have books for all ages. Childrens' picture books, middle-grade mystery/adventures, a young adult novella, an adult speculative fiction novella, a cookbook, a short story collections for all, a book of plays and sketches, and a few others.

Plus the event features dozens of other artists and vendors. And I'll have information about Harbor House Writing Center and the soon upcoming Harbor Books & Gifts.

Hope to see you there.

Learn more about my books here.

Even more about the Art Walk here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"What are you working on?"

What am I working on? I'm glad you asked. :)

These days I'm writing a lot of articles for print and the web. I've also had a few pieces in our local daily news. This includes several pieces for, a couple for, and a couple for Washington Coast magazine.

I am also working on a few books, too.

1) I have recently squeezed in time to write a couple bits for an upcoming anthology. I'm mostly collecting others' work for this project, but contributing as well as co-editing with my wife Ruth. It's called Another Load of Chicken Poop on My Sole as the follow-up to our Chicken Poop on My Sole. I have several pieces that I've edited in preparation for inclusion, but I need more stories, so if you've got something that's true; touching and/or funny; about farm life, country living, gardening or pets and can be told in 300 to 1,200 words (give or take) let me know. You could be published, too! (We hope to publish this in September.)

2) I'm working on and off on a book called If It Was a Snake It Would Have Bit You (and other things my father said and what I think he meant), too. It may take me a while as I consider it a side project.

3) I also have significant work done on the fourth Bayou Boys Adventure: Alien Ambush. It's been a couple years in the works due to some plot problems (as well as other projects), but I believe I have those worked through and I have scheduled to complete the work this fall for a Thanksgiving Release (as the story takes place during that time).

4) Finally (for now), I will be doing research in late June on what I hope will be my first full-length adult novel* titled Dead Men DO Tell Tales and writing (feverishly) over the summer. I plan to complete the first draft by November and redraft for NanoWriMo (Nov.) completing the work by the end of 2017 and publishing some time in 2018. (Yay, it be a modern pirate forensic-mystery novel, indeed. I'll say no more, fer the time bein'.)

Meanwhile, I'm at work on other projects as well including our writing center, opening a bookstore and more. I have a few signing events coming up over the summer and into the fall, too (watch for those on my Facebook page).

*I've previously written two adult novellas, The Amish vs. the Zombies and Hell, Heaven and Back.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Coming Late Summer 2017: Harbor BOOKS & Gifts

I keep thinking I'm crazy and I hope it works. The plan is to open a bookstore in the Twin Harbor area.

There really isn't a bookstore on the harbor, though a few places carry books, and a lot of people keep lamenting the fact. So, we're hoping to fill a niche.

Our first 300+ books came in yesterday, but we're going to need a lot more. We've also begun to slowly remodel now that we have a plan (right).

It's going to take us most of the summer to ramp up to an opening as there is much to do. We're HOPING for a soft opening by August sometime and no later than Sept. 5.

We're planning to carry and feature:

Select, bestselling, popular fiction; new books and gently used; books by local authors; and a good lineup of Christian books as well as art books and art supplies and gifts (for readers, writers and visitors).


Sunday, April 30, 2017

May the Fourth Be with You

Greetings and salutations! Here's the newest information from Harbor House:

Please note that we are currently closed for drop-in times and are meeting clients ONLY by appointment only through May 12.

STAR WARS and literary geeks, come on by on May the 4th, 6-8 p.m. We'll be reading a tad from William Shakespeare's STAR WARS: Verily, a New Hope by Portland Oregon's Ian Doescher. (It really is quite amusing.) Wear your fan wear if you like. We'll have snacks.

Beginning May 15, we'll be back to our regular winter/spring daily operating hours of 9 a.m. until noon. That's Monday through Friday; we're closed weekends. There will be no workshops in May.

Monday, May 15th is our monthly (third Monday of the month) WRITERS' FELLOWSHIP meeting. We begin at 6 p.m. and finish at 8 p.m. All writers are welcome. This is NOT a critique group, but we do share our work and talk about the craft.

We will be closed Monday, May 29 for Memorial Day.

SUMMER HOURS: begin Tuesday, May 30 and run through Thursday, August 31. Hours TBA; open Monday through Thursday; closed Friday through Sunday except for announced workshops (which we are currently working on for June). It's always best to follow our Facebook page for up-to-date information and last minute closures.

And finally, we hope to have our new bookstore (Harbor BOOKS & Gifts) open by August 1, but cannot promise a date at this time. Keep yer eyes peeled for details.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Party at a Bookstore Near You

Independent Bookstore Day is this Saturday, April 29th. Please remember to visit the local bookstore nearest you and buy some books! Better yet, buy a book from an indie author!

Many bookstores will have refreshments and be giving away swag, too. So it's a good time to hang out with other readers and browse and, well, buy a book.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Talk Story with a Little Fish

Photo source: Talk Story website.
So, my wife Ruth and I recently had the privilege to visit Talk Story, the western-most bookstore in the United States. It was a privilege for a number of reasons. The first being that very distinction, the second being that it is on the island of Kaua'i, Hawai'i (nice). But there are other reasons as well.

It was also a sincere pleasure to meet co-owner Cynthia Justus, and speak with her about books, bookstores and the book business. She was knowledgable and friendly and so willing to share, transparently, her passionate feelings about business, bookselling, indie publishing, and customer service. She can be frank, even bawdy at times, but you know she's shooting straight from the hip.

Photo source: Talk Story website.
When we told her that we were interested in opening a bookstore ourselves (coming to Harbor House this fall)  she was so forthright and helpful, it was like getting a college course in "how to run a bookstore" in thirty minutes. Justus not only shared with us then and there, but said she is happy to help with advice in the future.

The successful (eleven years running) multiple award-winning bookstore, tucked into charming Old Town Hanapepe, Kaua'i isn't very pretty on the outside (the building is more than70 years old), but inside it is a sparkling treasure trove of new, used and rare books, plus much more. The selection of more than 100,000 books was great and the store was well organized. They move about 3,000 books a month!

And Celeste, the cat, was friendly, too. (I do wish I'd have met Cynthia's husband Ed, from this video he seems like he's got a great sense of humor.) Video source: YouTube.

Photo source: Talk Story website.
Justus was quite candid (blunt even) about indie authors (even though she knew I was one of them). She said that most of the indie titles that local authors bring into the store don't sell. "I can't give them away," she said, "they are so bad." She showed us the stack; they screamed amature indie all over. The covers were awful, the writing generally dull and poorly edited, sometimes the formatting inside was off as well. She said no one ever asks a bookstore owner how to put a cover together that will sell. She wasn't being mean, she wanted to sell indie books and willingly carries them.

One piece of advice she offered was don't sell coffee and books in the same shop (and gave several practical reasons why it wasn't good business). Well, I love coffee and books so...

Little Fish Coffee, Hanapepe, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
photo by Gregory E. Zschomler
It should be noted that just down the street is Little Fish Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in the U.S. (and you know I've visited quite a few from the Big Apple to the Big Easy and all along the western coffee coast, so I'm really saying something here).

The quaint and quirky shop serves 100% Hawaiian-grown coffee and it's delish. [Note: We also got to visit Kaua'i Coffee Co.'s plantation and visitor's center, but that's another fascinating story.] Little Fish also serves a nice selection of food items including bagels with NYC-style schmears (flavored cream cheese spreads)--which is something you can't get just anywhere.

Cynthia and Ed Justus, photo source:
Anyway, it's a great place to savor a cup while enjoying the book you just bought from Talk Story. These two wonderful businesses (not to mention the warm weather, delightful beaches and breathtaking vistas) are just a few of the great reasons to visit the Garden Isle of Kaua'i.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"BEYOND INSANITY" Release Update

3D depiction of the cover

It is my pleasure to report the upcoming release of my new anthology BEYOND INSANITY: From the Launch Pad to New Dimensions, the follow-up to ROCKETMAN: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond.

I finished writing the collection of poems, pictures and personal essays back in November. Since that time the book has gone through the editing and prepress (layout and design) processes and is now ready for print and publication.

I'm looking for a new place to do the official LAUNCH PARTY as HeART in the Square was canceled.  Hopefully Sat. Feb. 11 somewhere on Grays Harbor. Stay tuned. 

 I'd love to meet you; come out and see me!And I'll have volume one in this series, ROCKETMAN: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond, along with my other books available, too.

About the Book:

ROCKETMAN: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond took you to the outer limits of family humor. Now you can travel beyond funny, because there’s more where that came from in this all NEW collection of short stories, poems and pictures from the life and times of a kid at heart. Read and relate as you enjoy a wild ride through BEYOND INSANITY.

Like Patrick McManus, Bill Cosby, Dave Barry and Bill Bryson, the author takes you on familiar journeys that not only tug at your heart, but have you laughing in no time at all.

Included are such stories as: 

Youthful Mischief; Feelin’ Squirrelly; Amtrak Attack; You’ve Got a Friend?; STOO-PID; My First Car; Camping with the Comrades; Be Prepared to do a Good Turn Daily; Things that Bother Me; The Heart of a Man; Best Friend; High Waters, Musicals and Hoops; Mother and Me; Don’t Cry Over Filched Milk Money; Change; Quicksand; The Confidential Kid; On Writing (What Little I Know); Old Coots at Mickey D’s; Low Rider; It Happened on Halloween; Christmas Cheer; and the snot rippin’ The Day Renny Sk√§raosten Saved the North Coast.

Plus several poems, photographs and more!

If you can't wait until the official launch party, the book will be available on Amazon by February 1 to order in print or download for Kindle.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Writer's New Year's Revolution, well, ya know...

I hope y'all had a great Christmas and a good start to the New Year. What are YOUR plans for 2017?

Me? Oh, I thought I'd do a little writing and publishing. (BTW: Christmas was great.)

I've got a new book titled Beyond Insanity (the sequel to Rocketman) coming out in February, so I'm in the thick of putting that together for print.

The wife and I are editing Another Load of Chicken Poop (the sequel to Chicken Poop on My Sole), due out in the spring. Get your short story submissions in for that ASAP if you'd like to be included. Email me for details.

And, hopefully, I'll have the fourth Bayou Boys Adventure, Alien Ambush, out for Halloween. I'll be finishing that this summer if all goes well.

I've been recently published in the winter edition of Washington Coast Magazine and in December I had three front page stories for The Daily News (Aberdeen, Wash. newspaper). I've also begun writing for Grays Harbor

Meanwhile, I'm at work working for other writers with Harbor House Center for Writing and the Arts. Lots of good teaching and activities coming up there. Check it out.

Drop me a comment or email and let me know what you're up to.