Tag Archive: writing



Today I’m following up on a topic I brought up in a previous entry where I talked about having started all over on “The Door”. Originally this story was meant to be the 3rd novel in our Para-Earth Series, only I kept hitting one wall after another with “The Door” and not getting much farther with the story. It got so bad I realized way too much time was passing without a new book being released, so Helen and I went to work on “The Vampyre Blogs” books because we had a clearer vision of those stories.

But even during that interim, I’d go back to “The Door” and new progress would be made, but then another wall or distraction would come along. That is until recently when I’ve gone back to it with a vengeance and have been making some serious progress. The story is moving along nicely but there have been a few bumps in the road. Most of those difficulties I’ve been encountering lately have come from new shapes and directions the story is heading in. But there were a number of scenes I had already written or planned that I couldn’t seem to let go of. I thought the story couldn’t work without them and kept trying to make them fit. Only to wind up finding myself hitting another of those damn walls.

So what was the problem?

I was trying to stuff those ‘precious’ scenes into the story, even though they weren’t needed anymore. It’s not that the scenes weren’t any good. Some of them were quite tense, exciting, and even funny. But there were problems with a number of them. For instance, one of my bugaboos when it comes to writing is that events or actions by the characters have to make sense. If one of them starts acting really stupid without a good reason, it drives me crazy. And as things were going, I was having a number of them behave in ways that made no sense. Oh I did try to rework the scene again and again to try and make it fit, but in the end the idea/scene really didn’t belong anymore. And in the end, all I’d wound up doing was wasting a lot of time and energy without making any really progress with the story. So it was time to do the unthinkable…

I cut them out. As soon as I did, real progress started happening once more. Admittedly some those scenes that got cut had some good drama to them, but I already had a slew of good scenes that not only come together well but flow so perfectly.  Furthermore, those scenes I removed will not really be missed. Especially, since I’m planning on building short stories around them instead.

Remember my golden rule, just because you remove it doesn’t mean you trash it. Always save those scenes, you never know when they might be perfect for another project..

However I will tell you right now, it’s not always easy to let an idea go. As I said earlier, I’ve been working on this book for over 4 years. I know the characters and I know where I want things to lead to, but in between there is so much that needs to happen. Unfortunately, I was trying to throw in too much.

So I’ve been taking several steps back with “The Door”. I’ve been really thinking about behaviors, actions and making sure everything makes sense. For instance, Alex has been out of action in the hospital for a month after the battle in “The Bridge” (the first book in our series). But what has been happening with Veronica and her fellow police officers in that time period?

Originally I had an idea involving many of the officers who’d been involved at the battle at the bridge suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of fighting something that was right out of a nightmare. Plus they lost several of their own people during the course of the fight. But who could they turn to for counseling? I had planned for Alex to come to everyone’s the rescue after he got released from the hospital. But upon giving it some serious thought I asked myself “Does this really make sense? A whole month passing and no one tried to help the officers? Why didn’t Veronica do something about it, these are her coworkers and she’s smart? Plus she recently met people in the first book who’d helped Alex with his PTSD as a result of a horrifying paranormal experience he’d had as a teenager. Wouldn’t she reach out to those same folks to help her coworkers?” The answer of course was HELL YES! So that’s exactly what I’m doing.

And guess what? It’s working.

Plus, there’s still plenty of action and mysteries that Alex is still badly needed to help with. For one thing the police need to be sure that the creature and its protector, Cyrus Graham, didn’t leave any other nasty surprises behind. And Alex is the only one the spirits of past victims are willing to reach out to.

But delving into those mysteries will lead to new questions regarding to Cassandra’s family history and another threat that has stalked her throughout the second book “The Ship”.  There are also revelations that will be uncovered that will link all these people to our vampyre Nathan (from “The Vampyre Blogs” portion of our series) creating new questions slowly bringing all the characters together for future tales.

However, most of this could not have happened had I not been willing to let go of scenes/ideas I didn’t think the story could live without. Sometimes you have to make those tough choices for the good of not only the story that you’re working on, but future ones as well. It’s a tough balancing act deciding what to keep and what to let go. However, if you find yourself hitting wall after wall it may be time to make those tough calls.

Have any of you had similar experiences? How did you deal with it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Until next time, take care and keep writing!


      As many of you know I’ve been working on “The Door” for the last four years. And looking back on that sentence I’m wishing I’d phrased it differently, because it makes me sound like someone who is the lamest handyman in creation. Hmm… there might be another blog post in that. I can see it now “Choosing Your Words Carefully”…

      Anyway, getting back to today’s topic, yes I’ve been working on that novel all this time and it still isn’t finished. In fact the closest I’ve gotten is halfway. Why? See below…

     But seriously, I was trying to put too much material and characters into the story. I had forgotten one of the cardinal rules I try to write by, which is “Keep It Simple Stupid”. When you have a story that already has a number of twists and turns built into it, DON’T MAKE IT MORE COMPLICATED! Secondly, if you are building a series you don’t have to introduce every bloody person who’s going to appear in it all at once! In fact, when you’re working on the first draft get the main story down on paper first. Then go back, read it, re-read it and then start a second draft. But above all get that 1st draft finished! All the extra layers and details you want to put to make things more real can come later.

     In my case, I was cluttering the story with scenes I thought were cool and would make people laugh or gasp. Plus I was bringing back secondary characters from the first two books, adding new ones I’d been dying to introduce, plot twists, you name it I was throwing it in. And time after time, the story kept getting too heavy and complicated for even me to follow.

     So finally, instead of simply going back and trying to simply remove scenes or fix things little by little (like I’d done a dozen times already) I found myself simply starting over and practically rewriting the book from the beginning. And guess what? It’s working.

 I’ve dropped God knows how many scenes I thought the story couldn’t live without, only to realize I was the only one who thought like that. I had to remind myself that as the storyteller I already  knew exactly where things were going, but what about the readers?

   I was forgetting just how important it is to stop and take a look at what you’ve done and try to see it through the eyes of a reader. Every story is a new journey to them. Oh you might be giving the readers familiar characters to follow on this new adventure, but it’s still your job is to keep this journey interesting. Do not overwhelm them with so much new stuff that they feel overwhelmed, especially when you have an ongoing series where there’s still so many stories that lie ahead. You have plenty of time to use a great many of those ideas bouncing around inside your head.

    So as I said earlier, I wound up removing a bunch of scenes from the plan and saved them on one of my many memory sticks. And I know I’m about to repeat myself, but we all need a reminder some days “Whatever you don’t use in your current story may be just perfect for another book down the road.”

     Now, getting back to the rewrite, the story has been trimmed down yet is still going to be exciting. Plus I’m making sure events in the previous books are still being felt, like having some of the cast who faced the nightmarish creature from “The Bridge” having troubles with PTSD. There really is so much already in store for the readers with this book that scaling things down has allowed me to really get the book back on track. Plus I’m finding it that much easier to write. I’m already over 50 pages into the story and on a roll.

     So if you’re finding yourself getting stuck time and again while working on just one story, taking a few steps back may be what you need to do to move forward. It’s not an easy thing to do, trust me on this. But it can sometimes make all the difference in the world to what you bring to your readers.

     Until next time, take care and keep writing!


Last night Helen and I finished the final story for our upcoming anthology!

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Thank you!  Thank you!  You’re all being too kind.  But today’s post is not to talk about the anthology itself, as much as what went into making it.  How did it differ from writing full-length novels?  Was it easier?  Was it harder? What was the process like?  Where did we get all the stories for it, etc.?

Well, for starters, coming up with a decent number of stories was and wasn’t hard really.  Helen had been writing stories long before e-books and well before I tried my hand at penning a tale.  I can easily say I learned so much from her earlier attempts at getting published, and let me tell you she got damn close to seeing some of her work in print.  But, that’s a tale for another entry.

What I want to say is that I learned a lot about what to expect when I decided to try  going the traditional published route.  Although in my case, I started shortly after the birth of e-publishing and after 2-3 years of trying to get an agent to represent and hearing over and over again “You’ve got something here, but you crossed several genres and I wouldn’t know what publishing house to try and sell it to.”

You see, at that time (and this still seems to hold true today) publishers don’t like to take risks on unknown authors or mixed genres. They want a straight up “Mystery”, “Thriller”, “Horror”, “Science Fiction”, etc.  They’re not keen on trying to sell a book that crosses multiple genres like the Para-Earth Series which we classify as “Paranormal/Sci-Fi”.

Nope

Now some of you may be pointing out that they do it more often these days, but most of those authors are well-known like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J. K. Rowling, etc. who all have proven sales track records.

Anyway, getting back to how our upcoming anthology came to be a reality.

During that 2-3 years I tried to get published the traditional way, more stories were taking shape.  New characters and ideas were forming.  One of them was vampire I called Nathan Eoghan (pronounced Ewan) Steward.  I swore I’d never do a vampire character, unless I could introduce new angle or angles to the character.  Yet I still wanted to keep a lot of the traditional trademark strengths and weaknesses people have come and know and recognize.

By this time, I had already been blogging for several years and had learned from other writers the concept of giving sneak peeks into upcoming works, and even sharing short stories.  This is done to introduce characters and concepts to prospective readers and build a demand for them.  So, after creating a vampire character that would fit nicely into our paranormal/sci-fi concept, I began doing short stories with Nathan over on a new blog called “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”.    Over the course of 3 years we had a number of tales about Nathan and introduced a number of his friends who appeared with him in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  And we’re still making new stories.  And that presented a problem, how many people want to wade through 4-5 years of blog posts to read all those stories?  Furthermore, most of those tales are rough 1st drafts and it shows.

During this time, I noticed some of my fellow authors who had created short stories on their blogs were bundling them into anthologies and that got us thinking.  With all the stories we’d already created, why couldn’t we create an anthology centered around all those stories on the blog?  While it sounded nice and easy, it also didn’t feel completely right to me.  While having all those earlier stories put into a more convenient format, shouldn’t we give the readers more?  Shouldn’t there be new never before seen stories in the collection?  Furthermore, should the stories not be just about Nathan but his friends, and even characters from our first two novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”?

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This led to Helen coming up with the idea of recycling some of her earlier works which were firmly established in the realm of the macabre.  With a little reworking and adding scenes, she felt a number of those pieces could easily fit in with our Para-Earth Series, while also giving those unread tales a chance to finally see the light of day.

*Now I want to pause and say one thing.  Remember how I told you all, many posts ago, never to toss out your unfinished works, or fragments because you never knew when they might fit into some new idea/concept?  This is a perfect example of why you do that.  You just never know when that day might come.*

So right there, we had some brand new stories to slip into the anthology.  But we didn’t stop there, we went ahead and created several more brand new stories just for the collection itself.  The result?  One third of the tales appearing in this anthology are completely brand new.

Plus, we also added an afterthought following each story, sharing some of the who, what, where, and how each tale came into existence.  We thought it only right to share some of what the writing process can be like and hopefully inspire others to take that next step in whatever creative endeavors they are involved in.

Now, seeing how long this entry is getting and knowing there’s still a lot more to share, I’m going to end this one here.  I know I covered a lot of background areas today and haven’t really gotten to more of the technical and details of actually what went into the building of the anthology.  But rest assured that will be covered in the next installment.

Until then take care and keep writing everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Words of wisdom from a very wise man and great writer Seumas Gallacher.

Seumas Gallacher

…blasphemy?… heresy?… ravings of a mad writer?… signs of an author finally succumbing to the madness that years of tilting at imaginary characters bring?… that this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler should posit that the purpose of creative writing is NOT to achieve perfection?… p’raps, Mabel, but just hold on a minute with that frantic phone call to the lunatic asylum to come and cart me away… in a lifetime of reading, my choices of literature have been as broad as can be… Steinbeck, O’Hara, Ruark, Christie, Dickens, Eco, Fitzgerald, Child, Austen, Churchill, Burns, Chaucer… an endless list of library index heroes… every name there acknowledged as classic in his or her own metier, regardless of genre… sparkling storytellers all… but equally, I have noted in many instances, flaws, sum’times, in their narratives… incomplete closure on certain endings… use of language occasionally misplaced… part of that may be attributed to…

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      Today we have the pleasure of welcoming Author Sheryl R. Hayes as our guest blogger who shares her insights about writing and tells us about her exciting debut book “Chaos Wolf”.  Take it away Sheryl…  

Sheryl R Hayes Author Photo

Stringing Words Together To Create A Yarn

    Aside from using tools that are stick-shaped, you wouldnt think that theres much similarity between writing and knitting. Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels.

      I have been a knitter and crocheter for about ten years, and creating costumes for the last six. I have been writing in some form or another for over twenty years, but started my novel about six years ago. My processes for writing a book and creating a costume are strikingly similar.

    I start by deciding on what I am going to make. Be it a Cruella De Vil or an urban fantasy novel about werewolves and vampires, I need that seed idea to nurture.

Cruella De Vil

    Next I figure out how I am going to do this. I study other costumes similar to what I want to do. I choose my yarn and pick out patterns to modify. I read other novels in my genre. I make up my characters and write my outline.

     You would assume this is where I dive in, but Im not quite there yet. If Im not sure if this will work, I make a few samples. Ill make what is called a swatch by knitting a four by four inch square. From that I will get an idea of how the finished project will look and can estimate how much yarn it will take. I will write a short story or a few scenes to get the feel for my characters. Once I feel comfortable, I begin the actual creation.

     Now begins the hard part. I begin the fabrication, which takes up the bulk of the work. At first its cheery because I am MAKING SOMETHING AWESOME. (Yes, I think about it in capital letters.) But as my fingers start to get sore and my brain stops providing the words, I start to wonder WHY DECIDED TO DO THIS and WILL I EVER FINISH???

     Then, I start noticing the errors. Plot holes appear in my beautiful prose. I discover on row ten that I knit row seven twice, or worse yet, dropped a stitch. Sometimes they are small holes that you can fix easily with a few stitches or a few words. Occasionally they are large holes that require you to rip parts out and, in a bad situation, start over. I pull the yarn off my needles, open a new file, and begin again. Lather, rinse, repeat until to my surprise, I have all the parts made. No more holes to fill. Now it is time to put it all together.

     Once I have all my pieces in place and all my prose written, I work on assembling the finished product. I start sewing pieces together to create the base of the costume. I pick any accessories that I need to add that finishing polish. I send my writing out to editors and beta readers to find out what needs to be rewritten to make the prose sing. Ill hire a cover artist and write the bits and pieces that will be used to promote the book.

     And when Im done with all the knitting and the typing, I have something I am proud to show off to the world.

Bio:

     Sheryl R. Hayes can be found untangling plot threads or the yarn her cats have been playing with. In addition to writing, she is a cosplayer focusing on knit and crochet costumes and works full time at a Bay Area water company. You can follow her at her blog http://www.sherylrhayes.com, on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/sherylrhayes, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sherylreneehayes

Chaos Wolf:

Bitten by a werewolf. Taught by a vampire. At this rate, shes going to start a war.

     Literature major Jordan Abbey ordered a double mocha latte, but it wasn’t supposed to come with a side order bite by a love-sick werewolf. When a vampire comes to her rescue, gut instinct tells her he has questionable motives. But hes the only one she can trust to help get in touch with her inner animal.

     Within a week, her smart mouth lands her in trouble with the hostile alpha of the local pack and the stiff-necked vampire elder. She now has less than a moon cycle to master shape changing… or else. And the besotted werewolf who started this whole mess is stalking Jordan and killing her friends. He won’t take no for an answer.

     In the Northern California town of Rancho Robles where the children of the Wolf and the Bat share an uneasy coexistence, one woman makes an epic mess of the status quo.

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Chaos Wolf Excerpt:

     He gestured toward the couch. “Would you like tea, coffee, or soda?”

    “Soda, please.” Although she wasn’t thirsty, accepting what he offered seemed the polite thing to do. She sat down on the leather couch and rested her elbows on her knees. “Don’t you only drink… um

     “Blood?” Montgomery finished the question for her. “No.” He stepped into the kitchenette. “I can and do drink and eat other things. It’s kind of like eating junk food. There’s no nutritional value. I enjoy the flavors and textures. I don’t like to do it too often, though.”

     Jordan tilted her head to one side. “Why not?”

    His lip curled into a half smile. “I can’t digest matter like when I was mortal,” he explained. “I have to purge it in a different way.”

    She blinked, puzzling it out. Understanding dawned on her face. “Oh… Oh!”

    One red-and-silver can in hand, Montgomery stepped out of the kitchenette. “When I last saw you, you were hightailing it out of here, never to return.” He gave her the soda and took a seat in the chair sitting at a right angle to the couch. “What happened?”

    Jordan stared down at the soda and rubbed her thumb over the frosty top. “After I left, I went home. I didn’t tell anyone about you.” She gestured in Montgomery’s direction. “I went out to try to forget what happened. When I came back, I found out my roommate’s boyfriend had been mauled to death.”

    Montgomery stiffened. “Did you see the werewolf?”

    “No,” Jordan said. “I didn’t even think he was real until” She paused and shivered, sloshing the soda in the can. “All I could think about was finding you.”

     Montgomery’s lips moved to form a curse. “Did you come directly here?” He stood up and crossed the small space separating the chair and the couch. “Focus. It’s important. Do you think you were followed?”

     “No. The police took me and Molly to the station. We’re not allowed to go back to our apartment until sometime tomorrow after the super gets someone in to” Jordan’s voice broke. She swallowed. “Clean up. I spent two hours getting on and off buses to make sure I wasn’t followed.”

     Montgomery sat down on the couch. “Good thinking. If the werewolf was following you by scent, that should have thrown him off your trail. If he was tracking you by sight, you would have spotted him. Or he would have broken in here by now. You’ve been lucky.”

    “Lucky?” Jordan’s shoulders tightened and her fist clenched, denting the can inward. “I’m being stalked by something out of a horror film and you think I’m lucky?”

     “Yes,” Montgomery countered. “If you had been there instead of your friend, the werewolf would have finished what he started.”

     “Finished what he started?” Jordan put the soda on the table unopened. “You make it sound like he let me live.”

     “He did,” Montgomery stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

     She stared at him with an open mouth. All the movies and books she had seen taught that a werewolf would rip out her throat as soon as look at her. The female victim never survived the attack. “But why?”

     “You haven’t figured it out yet?” Montgomery appeared nonplussed by her reaction. “He wasn’t trying to make a meal out of you, Jordan. He was claiming you as his mate.”

Universal Book Link: https://www.books2read.com/chaos-wolf

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B2RTFCV/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


Calling-All-Authors

 

Running a blog can be tiring work…  and running a second one:

“The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” link: https://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/)

can be exhausting

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So having guest bloggers who wish to get exposed to a wider audience is a real plus, plus it gives our readers a better idea of what other books and authors are out there.  So if you’re interested in doing a guest post about writing, or wish promote your work here on this blog, please let us know in the comment section below.

Or you can e-mail us at: allan.krummenacker@gmail.com.  Tell us about yourself and what you’d like to share and how soon you’d like the post to run.  We’ll do our best to accommodate your needs and if we can’t we’ll let you know.   Keep in mind NO PORNOGRAPHY.  We have readers from many age ranges and backgrounds so we need to keep things within certain limits.  Heavy romance with sexual tones is one thing, but straight out porn is a no go.

Looking forward to hearing back from you all soon.  Until then, take care and keep writing!


Yesterday I had an epiphany about my writing and the entire Para-Earth Series… it’s been a collaboration all along.  From “The Bridge” to “The Ship” to “The Vampyre Blogs -Coming Home”, the entire journey has been one gigantic collaboration with my wife/best friend Helen.  And I am planning on putting her name on the first two books.

Why didn’t I do this sooner?  And how did I not realize it was a collaboration all along?  Because I thought a collaboration strictly meant two people were doing the actual writing, but that’s not the only way a collaboration works.  Ideas, suggestions, helping shape characters, plot, settings, events… all of that goes into a collaboration as well.

So even though I did all the writing in “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, Helen gave me so much guidance like helping shape the characters personalities, questioning their actions, being my sounding-board for ideas I had but didn’t know where to go with them until she suggested details or options I never considered which suddenly put the story back on track again… you name it.  To me, she has been just as much a part of those books as I’ve been.

Now, some of you might be wondering how did this realization come to me?  Well, it had been bouncing around in my mind for some weeks now but yesterday is when it finally clicked into place for me.  As many of you should know by now, Helen just recently got offered a job at Santa Cruz County.  Well, yesterday was her Orientation Day and she officially starts work on Monday as an Accounting Technician (I’m so proud).

Well, when my day ended we were driving home and I started sharing with her that I was working on a new short story for our other blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” (where we post brand new short stories involving characters from our book “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” Link: https://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/   *NOTE: Characters from “The Bridge” and “The Ship” have also appeared there and will be showing up again soon so keep an on that site).   Some time ago I had decided that Lisa (one of the main characters) was a gifted psychic.

*Note: Lisa is often mistaken for a Goth, but she merely loves old clothing styles and vibrant colors.  She’s actually into clothing design and cool make-up, including special effects*

Mind you she is not nearly as strong as Alex, Cassandra, or the Baby from “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  Lisa’s talents show up in the form of glimpses into the near future in dreams, as well as being sensitive to strong emotions both past and present, but she’s only starting to realize it.

Anyway,  I was working on a short story with her that takes place between the end of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and its sequel “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” which is currently  being written along with several other projects.

*SPOILERS FOR THE SHORT STORY AHEAD: Lisa’s been having dreams where she senses the danger from the first book is not completely over and that more darkness lies ahead for not only her and those she loves, but the entire town where she and Nathan live.  But that was as far as I had gotten when Helen suddenly sprang to life and suggested a scene in the waking world that indicates there is indeed a threat.  A certain modern-day life form, that is similar to the Para-Earth life-form that makes our character Nathan a vampyre, are fleeing the area.  Upon seeing this, Lisa realizes there is something coming prompting her to see if Nathan has returned or not.  This will tie into the opening scene of the 2nd novel in the Vampyre Blogs section of the Para-Earth Series.

END OF SPOILERS:

As soon as Helen made this suggestion the rest of the story came to me in a wave.  I could clearly see the path forward and immediately asked her to help give more life to the characters of Lisa and her best friend Marisa who also will appear in the story.  She naturally agreed, having taken a crack at writing both girls recently for a story in our upcoming anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” coming in January 2018.

Now, this has been just one of many examples of how a collaboration can work when it comes to writing.  I have many more to share, including one with my other Collaborator Rich Caminit which I will share in my next post.  Plus others that I will continue to share down the road.  For now, I’m going to leave you all for now, before this entry turns into the length of a novella.  But please give thoughts to other forms of collaboration you may have encountered and please share them with all of us in the comment section below.  As I’ve already said, collaborations take many forms and the roles each collaborator takes is not simply one but many, and this is why I feel collaborations are something that should sometimes be embraced whole-heartedly.

And on a final note, don’t be afraid to share the credit for a project.  As Samuel Goldwyn the great movie producer once said…

When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.

Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.


I’m letting one of my co-authors take the helm here at the blog today.  So allow me to introduce one of my oldest friends and partner-in-crime Rich Caminiti, as he shares with you his own wisdom about writing on a budget.  Take it away, Rich…

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    Welcome my friends, and thank you to Allan for letting me write my piece for you. In his last musing, he spoke of his computer woes not only about his desktop but his laptop as well.

      Well, I too seem to have shared the same fate. But wait, I’m getting to my point! I had to wait and pick up a new laptop which some of you may have seen my post about setting it up. (To a computer technician, to get this perfected to our satisfaction takes forever!)

     When Allan needed Microsoft Office I surmise and Helen had told him about WPS Office which cost him nothing. A very excellent deal! Five second ad and all.

     I also told my cohort that I could give him Office 2016 Pro for free, he thought about it for not even a moment and said that he wished to use WPS Office. While appreciative of my offer, he did not want to advertise something that he didn’t use himself. That’s integrity. So, I offered up an alternative to him that would forego the nag screen (the ad screen). That alternative is called OpenOffice.

    When OpenOffice was created by Sun Inc., for those who remember, it was pretty much to get back at Microsoft. It appears the two were in a battle about Sun Java and Microsoft machine Java. Well, MS won the day. So Sun went about creating OpenOffice. It not only could open MS Word doc’s, excel and PowerPoint files, but edit them and save them in the same format as well.

open office word

     So you want to write and you can’t afford MS Office, either go with WPS Office, or OpenOffice, and you wont go wrong. Take a look at the screen shot I’ve included above. You’ll see almost all the functions of MS Word. Meanwhile, take a peek at the program!

     Thank you all and keep writing my friends.

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Rich


Sorry for the delay in posting this second section, but I’ve been having issues with the Kindle version of my first novel “The Bridge”.  Amazon has been alerted to the problem and are working hard with me to get the problem resolved.  I’ll be creating another post here sharing what happened and how we got things resolved shortly.

In the meantime, back to our discussion about working and juggling multiple stories…

silhouette of a man juggling in spiral form

So where was I?  Oh yes, why finding that I could work on multiple stories was such a big deal for me.  Anyone who is creative will tell you that when you have that creative mindset going it gives them a surge of satisfaction that’s like no other.  Our minds love to be active and focused on something.  But for artists, writers, musicians, anyone who’s got a creative mind, not having the brain working on something can be frustrating.  You start to feel stale, or like you’re not doing your part somehow.  This is a big part of why writer’s block of any kind, can be so frustrating.  We get that adrenaline rush and excitement when we’re creating, so to find ourselves stuck can actually be devastating over time.  The more you’re in a rut the angry you become with yourself.  So in my case, having multiple stories to work on means I’ve always got something to keep the old noggin busy and have that adrenaline flowing.

Plus there’s a genuine excitement to coming up with a new idea/concept, new characters, and situations. Mind you, you can get too caught up with generating new ideas and scenes without getting anything down on paper or your computer.  Even if you do manage to get the ideas down if you’re too busy just creating and generating, you may find you wound up doing nothing with all those fantastic ideas and have nothing to show for it in the end.  So watch yourselves.  Been there and done that, so I know of what I speak.

Furthermore, finishing a piece can be every bit as exciting as creating so don’t deny yourselves that pleasure.  Even if it’s just a short story, completing one can really raise you spirits and keep the creative juices flowing.

Why do I keep harping on keeping those creative juices flowing?  Because in my case, any victory is important.  As someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia, I can tell you any victory, however small helps.  It can be a daily battle to accomplish even the smallest tasks during a Flare-Up, and keeping your spirits up while fighting great pain is essential.  So every victory, no matter how small, counts.

Brain Firing

But just as important is the fact that we’re training our brains to think and operate a certain way.  When I hit a roadblock on a piece, working on something else for a while actually gives one part of my brain time to rest.  I’m not worrying about the story I’m stuck on, I’m problem-solving another one.  Then when I go back to the piece I’d been stuck on I come at it with fresh eyes and a more open mind.  I’ll look back to see where I got bogged down.  And since my brain has been solving other problems, my mental muscles are up for the challenge and may come up with something totally new that blows the writer’s block away.

Does it always work?  No.  I may have to come back to a piece multiple times before finding the way forward, but it does happen.

Mind you, at this stage of my writing career, there is one drawback to working on multiple projects, it takes me a long time to get one completely finished.  Yet, there is a bright side to this.  You see, several of the works I’m currently involved with are over halfway done already.  And since I don’t like to release more than one book at a time, this means I will soon have a number of finished works that I can parcel out over a period of  2-3 times a year.  This of course satisfies the readers’ cravings for more…

Shut-up-and-take-my-money

While at the same time I get breathing space to build up more pieces for later release.  For me, this is one of the biggest benefits of working multiple stories.  In the short term it can seem a bit of a slow process, but when looked at in a bigger picture, it means you’re building a reserve for yourself that can help keep your audience happy and allow yourself some breathing room during those slow productive periods.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now.  Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.


When I started out on this writing journey, I never saw myself as someone who could a whole bunch of writing projects going at the same time.  That kind of thing was reserved for some of the great prolific authors like Isaac Asimov, who was notorious for working on multiple projects on a regular basis.  The man insisted on having a portable typewriter or two wherever he went.  And if he couldn’t get his hands on a typewriter, he’d pull out a pad of paper and a bunch of pencils/pens and wrote the old fashion way, long hand.

But me, I could never picture myself even thinking about working on more than one story at a time.  In fact, the very first novel I started working on was set in the early 1800’s and I had gotten about 2/3’s of the way through the tale when my wife pointed out that a historical piece would be harder to market.  On hearing this, I gave it some thought and put the story aside and began a whole new piece which eventually turned into my first published novel “The Bridge”.

After finishing that book, I thought about going back to the piece from the 1800’s, but wound up moving forward with my current characters, one of which had connections to the family who were featured in my unfinished work.  However, moving forward was still difficult.   I was taking college classes which of course made excessive demands on my time.  But that was only natural.  School had to come first, however when we moved to Marina so Helen could attend CSU Monterey Bay, I took two years off from studies and focused more on my writing.  Which in turn led to my finally finishing “The Ship” which I released back in 2014.

From there I began work on a third book with those characters, which is still underway at this point and time.  What happened?  I was having difficulties in building the story, things were getting too complicated.  Too many characters, too many ideas, it was turning into something too unwieldy.  Yet I still wanted to be writing, so I wound up putting it aside and started up “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

With that book I had a more clear idea of where I wanted things to go, who the characters were, and how it would end.  Plus, I had a co-author, namely my wife Helen who had been my consultant on the first two books.  Mind you it still took another 2 years before this book was ready to for release, however I didn’t mind it so much.  Why?  Because I had started up another blog, called The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition  https://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/, where I was regularly writing short stories involving different characters who were to appear in the novel.  The idea behind this was to  build an audience for the book before it was released and create a loyal following.  Yet by doing this, something wonderful happened.

I wound up training my brain to think about more than one story at a time.  Writing all those shorts, was a great exercise and now I find myself thinking about multiple storylines on a regular basis.  Now why is this such a big deal to me?  I’ll tell you in my next entry.

I know, I know, I’m cutting things off just when things are getting even more interesting, but this post is getting pretty long and I still have much to say.   So please be patient and I WILL have the 2nd installment up in a week.  Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.

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