Epic Advice from Chuck Wendig on Creating Things and Self Doubt.

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Saw this on Twitter and had to share for those of you who either aren’t on twitter or would not be following Chuck Wendig if you were.  All credit to Chuck for his thoughts on creativity and self doubt, and this is a must read for you creative types out there.

(sorry for duplication but he replied to each tweet, so that seems to be how the embeds work.)

Ed Note:  New favorite word that I want to work into everyday conversation:  –
py·ro·clas·tic ˌpīrōˈklastik/ GEOLOGY adjective relating to, consisting of, or denoting fragments of rock erupted by a volcano.

Good advice.  Nothing for me to add.

Well except that when it comes to D & D, or any role playing game, I always bring the rope.


Connect 2.0, and Other Worlds

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Connect 2_0

Well, that took longer than expected!

As you know, (since I know you follow this little blog religiously) I have been doing some editing.  I finished up Contact a few (ed. several) weeks ago.  So when that was done I turned my sites on Connect.  Same process.  I used the Hemingway App which helps to focus on readability.  I found it helpful to tighten things up a lot.  New version is posted to Kindle and Smashwords will follow soon after I get the reformatted version through the Meatgrinder.  (Seriously that is the name of Smashwords’ program that converts the files to ePub, Mobi etc.)

At this point though now I have to swear off of that stuff.  You can easily turn into George Lucas and keep going back and revising, re-editing, r-writing.  And we all know how that goes.  I am better writer now than I was when I first typed out

No one knew what had happened to the world Before.

Or why.

Or how.

Only that what had been Before was now gone and all that was left was After.

Of course, none of that was Mason’s concern at this moment.

But that doesn’t mean I should be rewriting the book.

Time to move on to some new things.  I will be posting a short story I wrote called “47 Seconds” in this space soon.  After that I have work to do on Conflict, the Mason Chronicles Part III  (Gasp! Spoiler alert!) and I think I have several other good short stories to be told. I want to branch out of the world of After, so expect to see some other places and faces.

Go Then

Good advice, me thinks!

It’s not you…

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I have been doing some re design on the site and used a new theme.

Okay so in reality, I just found a new theme.  Really very minimal work on my part.  I was barely even involved.

So what do you think?

Milestone Update for Part 2 of the Mason Chronicles

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“He’s talking about going into a huge camp of violent murder rapist types for a fucking stroll, and he’s smiling about it!?” – from Chapter 4 of part 2

I just finished the first writing of chapter 4 so I figured it was a good idea to give the three of you an update on the progress for Part 2.  With part 1 I tried to release the story episodically so that the readers could download a chapter at a time and get them hot off the press.  However the current e publishing paradigms do not really allow for that.  Seriously, if you ever tried to get an updated copy to download on Kindle you probably know what I mean. So with Part 2 I decided not to fight the man and go more traditional.  I am trying to complete the entire novella and publish all at once to minimize churn for the readers.  If you have been following along then you have seen excerpts from part 2 here, here and here so you know that there is some actual writing going on between occasional blog posts and design endeavors.

Right now there are 4 complete chapters for part 2 and I envision it running to 6 or 7 chapters at this time.  There are 21,289 words over 49 pages.  That does not include chapter headers and right now each chapter is an individual document so page breaks and chapter breaks do not influence the page count yet.  By way of comparison (I always hear Geoff Tate saying that…) the first 4 chapters of Part 1 comprises 30,005 words over 53 pages and that includes the headers and page/chapter breaks.   So the word count on part 2 is low, but when I go back and edit and re work it before publishing, and add all the chapter headings it should get closer.  Not that the #’s really matter.  The story is what it is, and starts and ends where it ends.

So now the thing I am most excited for is that the story arcs that I know will come to a head in the last few chapters of part 2.  Many of the scenes coming up are things that I envisioned from the very inception and a lot of the story up until now has been about getting to these scenes.

That being said, do not worry, the story continues beyond part 2 and should wrap up in Part 3.  (Because I know many of you are losing sleep over this!)

If anyone wants to beta read Part 2, let me know.  I would love any help with editing and feedback that I can get as I try and finish part 2 and prepare for publishing.

So there you have it.  We are past the midway hump folks and descending into a pretty epic section of the story.  At least I am as I write it, and you could be too if you want to be a beta reader.

Have a Good Day –and not the kind of good day C’er refers to.

New Excerpt from Part 2 of The Mason Chronicles

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“Stay on the Path”

The trees blocked the light of the sun and cast deep shadows as if they were intentionally hiding something. Ungruk was pondering this from the driver’s seat of the truck when he thought he heard the first howl. The rumble of the engine made it impossible to be sure but he tried to listen more carefully now. Hugrew was about twenty steps out in front, looking for a clear path that the truck could follow through the sentinel Pines that covered this side of the Range. They had followed the girl death spirit’s trail up from the ravine and through the foothills. They lost it at the foot of the range of mountains and knew that they could not turn back without something to show Dathan. So they had moved further into the Range that had loomed along the horizon since before they had left that last fortified village.

Ungruk was unsure of the restless and relentless nature of how Dathan moved the horde of Brothers he had amassed. This was not the first time that he had found a solid looking shelter and shortly after the gluttonous orgy of violence he pulled his brothers out and moved on. None of the brothers seemed to know what he was moving them towards. For many of them, as long as they continued to win and have their moments of destruction, death dealing and rape then they would follow him. Others had begun to question what the point was of leaving behind good strong shelters to move on towards the unknown. For Ungruk those questions had started when he cleaned the remains of Bloored’s head off his cheek in that ravine.

When they had lost the girl death spirit’s trail they knew that it was probably for the best, as she surely would have sent them all down the path. But now they could not return to the safety of the horde where the rest of their tribe was. It was Hugrew, who had always had a certain way as a pathfinder, who looked at the mountains and saw the pass. Ungruk was not sure he saw anything where Hugrew pointed, so he rounded up his men and they decided together to try for the pass. Maybe if they returned with the way through the mountains that Dathan wanted so badly he would let them back.

There had been some roads that snaked their way into the Range that they were able to make use of. They followed Hugrew’s nose for paths until they did find a pass through the Range. There was even a road that wound up the slopes and through the pass. Ungruk was careful heading into the pass after what he had seen in the ravine. Since they had lost the trail they were all on edge that the death spirit was now following their own trail. Here the sides of the mountains rose up sharply on either side of road and there were numerous cliffs with shelving atop them that would make perfect spots to rain down death on anyone attempting the pass. The North men moved through the pass as quickly and carefully as they could, watching the cliffs all the while.

Once through the pass they came into the head of the valley and knew that they had found what Dathan was looking for. A morning mist lay over the mountains and the valley that they sheltered.  Standing at the end of the pass and looking down in the broad valley the men were all happy.  At least until Hugrew spoke up. He saw no other pass out of the valley making it a dead end. This started them arguing as to what to do. Some questioned how Hugrew could know this since they could not see the whole Valley through the mists. His response was to ask which one of them saw this pass that he had led them too. They were silent since none had seen it and they had followed his lead on faith of his skills. So there argument turned back to the situation that they were now in.  Do they leave their tribe behind and run? Could they shelter in this valley? Urthew then suggested that they go back to Dathan’s horde, but not to him. The camp was massive and they could sneak in and collect their tribe and then come back to this valley and build a life here. That had them all thinking it through, but Ungruk was certain that Dathan would definitely come to wipe them out. It was then that Hugrew suddenly stood up and climbed up the side wall of the pass to one of the cliffs. He called down to them that he saw something on the far end of the valley. Something massive was out there in the thinning mists. They decided that they should see what was out there and then decide what to do.

The road through the pass quickly disappeared and they found themselves slowly crawling their two trucks over rocky terrain that was more and more filling with tall pines. Hugrew had finally gotten out and walked ahead of the lead truck that Ungruk was driving to help him navigate the path. The trees now rose up all around them and blocked their view of the mountains surrounding them. They were maybe halfway through the valley near as they could tell when Ungruk heard that howl.

Hugrew had heard it as well and raised his rifle as he scanned around the shadows cast by the sentinel pines all around them. After the second howl echoed the first from an entirely different direction, Ungruk called for Hugrew to get back in the truck. Ungruk was relieved when Hugrew started back towards the truck.

That relief was quickly shattered when a massive hound erupted from the trees behind Hugrew and snatched the man by his neck. The beast easily pulled Hugrew down and with a sharp twist snapped his neck. Ungruk stared in stunned horror as Hugrew was dragged back into the trees and a third howl erupted. This time the howl came in unison from all around the trucks and it was very close.

So what do you think? Will Ungruk survive? Do you feel bad for Hugrew? Who is the Death Spirit they were tracking? 

Sound off in the comments.

Also this is an excerpt from what is shaping up to be chapter 3 of part 2.  Read Part 1 here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DD4HY3Q

On the Glory of the Semicolon

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John Scalzi wrote this little ditty about semicolons and I was laughing to myself reading it because I too love a good semicolon. One of my college writing professors wrote a margin note on one of my pieces that said, “What is a semicolon?” I actually had to look it up and when I did I was amazed by this simple bit of punctuation that I had totally forgotten that could prevent both run on sentences (kind of like this one) and sentence fragments at the same time. It made sense and it worked.

Now, my writing tends to be complex in my use of language. It’s not intentional or contrived; it happens to just be the way that things rattle around in my head. (See? That last one came out as two sentences, and might even work that way but possibly pops better with a semicolon) I tend to take a lot of grammatical liberty and sometimes a good semicolon saves the day.

Of course there is the other problem that occurs with this. Scalzi makes a great point about pacing and how the prose and dialogue have to fit what you are trying to do. I tend to take the long way around when I write. I also do this when I speak from time to time. (yes, it has been said that I talk a bit much. Just a bit.) The problem with that is you lose people. They get lost reading that ridiculous sentence or listening to whatever circuitous point you are striving to make. Writing, like many other things, often gets better as it becomes more simple. I think of sculpting where you start with a huge block of stone and you whittle it down to something beautiful. Writing is like that. It’s fine when it’s broad and somewhat obtuse. It can work that way.  However, it is much better when it’s concise and the language does not get in the way; and semicolons help with that; sometimes.

Contact is Free Today on Amazon!

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MS ContactJust a reminder Today is the last day to get my little book for free! You can grab it for kindle.  I only ask that if you have read it, or just want to support me in this, jump on Amazon and give it a few stars (and by a few I mean 5 people!) or if you are so inclined drop a few nice words.

Also if you use Goodreads, it is listed here and you can review or mark it as read as well.

Thanks everyone!