Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Twas The Blog Before Christmas...

   Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, or whatever phrase means the most to you. This time of year is not about what we say, but what we do. It's a time of giving and helping others. It's a time for forgiveness and reaching out to those we've disagreed with in the past. Life is too short, and we are only hurting ourselves by holding a grudge.
   Three years ago, I started this journey to become a writer and it has been amazing. I've always had trouble making friends, not because people didn't like me, but because I was reluctant to let others into my life. At my age and inability to get out much, I had resigned myself to the idea I would spend the rest of my life lonely. The number of friends I've met on Social Media, and especially the in-person friends I've found through critique groups and writing partners has given me a new lease on life. I've reconnected with classmates from the sixties, most of whom live thousands of miles away, and shipmates from the seventies who I thought I'd never talk to again. It turned out one of my Navy buddies had lived only a couple miles away for years, and we never knew.
   My greatest pleasure comes from the writing partners I've found. It was a huge step for me to invite someone into my home, and it wouldn't have surprised me if they had declined my offer. It is such a blessing to have someone you can share your hopes and dreams with, and who understands the frustrations when the story bogs down and isn't progressing the way you want it. I feel all of us have improved as writers, and our stories are richer and more meaningful. It really helps when we can use each other as a sounding board to work out difficult scenes.
   If you are a writer, my sincere hope is that you find others to sit down with, face to face on a regular basis, and work together through laughter and a few tears. As the saying goes, "Iron sharpens iron".
   Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all next year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Free Downloads

   A quick post to promote my three stories. For the next five days, click on the book covers displayed on the right side of my blog and download for free. Enjoy, and have a Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why Do I Keep Trying?

   The holidays are upon us once again, and along with that comes the challenge of dealing with it. Many folks have a hard time during the holidays for many different reasons. For me, other than my usual depression which is a never ending battle, it's the passage of time.
   Every year my Christmas card list gets a little shorter. Parents are long gone, most aunts and uncles, and a number of favorite cousins. High school classmates are disappearing, and old Navy buddies are no longer there to swap sea stories. It pains me to wonder who may be next.
   It's also a reminder that another year has passed and I still haven't reached any of the goals I set for myself. It's been almost a year since I published my first book, and I had planned to publish at least two more this year. Didn't happen. I had hoped to make some extra money on a few side projects so I could afford something nice for all my family this Christmas. Didn't happen.
   All this brings me to the question of why do I bother, and the answer is hope. As long as I can get out of bed in the morning, pick up a pen and write something, there is hope. My depression and low self-esteem keep telling me I'll never succeed, but I refuse to believe that. No one can go their entire lives and never accomplish at least one thing positive.
   One thing I do know is I would be lost without my critique group and writing partners. They genuinely seem to feel I help them in some way, and they consistently appear to enjoy what I write. Some complain that I write final drafts and leave almost nothing for them to critique. I don't know if that's good or bad, just the way I write. Maybe it saves a little time by not having to write multiple drafts, but when it takes a week to write a thousand words, it feels like I'm not making much progress.
   I am making progress though, even if it's slow. I will publish the first book in my epic fantasy next year, and hopefully the second book in the series I started last year.
   If anyone is interested, I'll be offering both short stories and the novella for free for five days starting on Dec 19th. Please take a look if you can and let me know what I can do better. I'd hate to think I've just been spitting in the wind.
   Thanks for reading.