Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Great Resource for Teachers/Educators

As an educator, I can get what burning out can look like. I can understand the questions of: 

"Should I stay in teaching? Is this what I really want to do?"

A co-worker showed me this site and I believe in their purpose. If you are someone who has asked the above questions, you should check out Educator Rescue. They provide support, insight and tips to help answer these very important questions. Good luck!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Short Story Competition!

Welcome to the first of many writing competitions! Simply e-mail your best short story to or post your short story below. The winner of "Short Story Extravaganza" will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and a free copy of my medical memoir Poked and Prodded- A Humorous Medical Memoir.


A $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of Poked and Prodded for submitting your best short story?
That's right!

And it's free to send in your entry!
Either send your e-mail directly with "Writing Entry" included in the subject line to, or, post your entry below this post.

Entry Deadline: June 1st (exactly two weeks from now)
Contest winner will be announced on June 3rd.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Finding Balance

It's tough to find balance between your passions and your jobs in life. Where does one find the time to write? My problem is, once I start writing, I hate breaking out of the writing zone. Does anyone else have trouble breaking from their writing to rejoin the real world, with its real responsibilities and roles?  Let me know!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Family Guy- Powered by Safety and Ignorance

While writing the last blog post, Family Guy attempted to be funny in the background. I've realized something. Maybe others have had this realization before me, but I feel special. Because I've had this "ah-ha" moment for myself.

Family Guy is powered by ignorance and safety. Allow me first to elaborate on the ignorance. Family Guy prides itself on jokes concerning protected topics: religion, politics, special needs, gender, and ethnicity. I say protected topics because all of these listed arenas of the human experience have lines that shouldn't be crossed. These boundaries have been put up to protect and respect those individuals inside of it. For example, variations of the word "retard" are often used by Family Guy characters (to much laughter by the general audience). Family Guy perpetuates stereotypes and derogatory remarks, because Americans have reached a level of contentedness with their own little life bubble. If you don't know anyone with special needs, retard jokes are funny. If you are not privy to the difficulties little people face on a daily basis, dwarf and midget jokes are comedy gold. Family Guy feeds off American ignorance.

Second, Family Guy relies on the safety Americans currently reside in. One of Family Guy's major appeals is its mastery of dark humor and the bizarre. Any scene with random, over-extended, horribly strange violence is an example of this. Anyone who has read Night, can understand why this violence can't be considered funny to those who have dealt with violence first hand. But because America is living in realive comfort, we are far removed from the actual results of violence. Go Family Guy, you rely on America's ignorance and safety. Hope your okay with that.


Why is it so hard to write? Why do I feel like I need an audience for every word I compose? Why can't I just write for the sake of writing? Why can't I just write to tell a story, even if no one will read it?

But then again...

"If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does the tree falling even matter?"

I want to matter.
I want to change lives.
I want to be important.
I want to be successful.
I want to be known.
I want to feel satisfied.
I want to be a best-seller.
I want to be asked for interviews.

When will I be able to delete "want to"?

I matter.
I change lives.
I am important.
I am successful.
I am known.
I am satisfied.
I am a best-seller.
I am asked for interviews.

Will it be today?
Two weeks from now?
A month?
A year?
On my deathbed?

Only one person can determine this...
and he seems to be writing this post.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

You Can't Rush Art

This post is inspired by Geri, the toy cleaner from Toy Story 2. Right before repairing Woody, he states wisely, "You can't rush art." Geri then completes hours of painstaking work to repair Woody, down to the most minute detail.

"You can't rush art." The same is true for writing. Don't rush your writing process. When you rush, mistakes occur. When mistakes occur, your writing looks amateur. When your writing looks amateur, readers don't take you seriously. When readers don't take you seriously, you get depressed. And when you get depressed, you binge on pickles. Don't binge on pickles. Don't rush your art.

Slow down, pace yourself through your writing. Did you know that from the brainstorming stage to the first theater release, Toy Story 2 took nine months to make? And this amount of time is considered fast for animated movies!

But you say you don't care how long it takes to create an animated movie? Okay, allow me to move my comparison to a ballpark we all know and love. Writing. J.K. Rowling took five years to write Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. During this time, Rowling also laid the framework for the rest of the series. She didn't rush her art. If Rowling had blitzed through Harry Potter, she may have written a moderately successful YA fantasy, but the series would have ended there. We, her readers, would have never had the joy of experiencing Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort's final battle six novels later.

I am not pushing for a specific time period in which to write your literature. After all, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in two weeks. The time and dedication authors put into their works vary, but the final product, the masterpiece should be perfect upon submission or publication. Read through A Christmas Carol. Read through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. What do they have in common? Precise wording, complex characters, engaging plot; I could go on! Before sending your manuscript out, take the necessary time with it. The already slim chances of publication disappear completely when your art is rushed.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating lazy or passionless writing. If you are in a writing frenzy, go with it! Have the goal to write 30 minutes a day? Keep it up! But don't immediately count the writing you do in this time period as your final production. A piece of writing isn't ready for readers until you have read, reread, rewritten, revised, and revisited it later on. This rule is known by all authors, but those who actually live by it are far more successful.

I am living proof of an author who didn't follow this rule. Three weeks ago, I "published" one memoir, one novella, and one short story on Amazon; all before they were ready to be published. Since the first publishing, I've been playing catch-up. Realizing and fixing simple typos, inaccuracies in plot and voice, and chapter sequencing. Every day in these last three weeks, I have been reposting my published texts, trying desperately not to lose my supportive readers. I've finally uploaded my final rewrites of all three texts, but, I know I blew my opportunity with some curious readers. I rushed my art. I paid the consequences.

"You can't rush writing." If you do, you will be disappointing your readers and failing yourself. As soon as you discover you have been rushing, Stop. Reread. Edit. Revise. While your book may sent out to agents or publishers two weeks later, you'll know it's your best creation.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wow, I've Seen These a Few Times Now. I'll Share Here Too:

Konrath Motivational Quotes

There's a word for a writer who never gives up... published.

Denial is a powerful opiate.

If you're selling eggs, don't piss off your chickens

Ebooks are forever, and forever is a long time.

When you're learning how to walk, you don't take classes. You don't read how-to books. You don't pay experts to help you, or do it for you. You just keep falling until you learn on your own.

Before you make the key, study the lock.

People would rather fight to the death to defend their beliefs than consider changing their minds.

It's about what you have to offer, not what you have to sell.

You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than becoming successful in this biz. But if you really want to get hit by lightning, you can improve your odds.

No one is entitled to anything.

What are the last ten books you bought, and what made you buy them? Use those techniques to sell your books to other people. Do what works on you.

Hard work trumps talent. Persistence trumps inspiration. Humility trumps ego.

Praise is like candy. We love it, but it isn't good for us. You can only improve by being told what's wrong.

Your book is your child. You can't recognize its shortcomings, any more than a proud parent can consider their child dumb and ugly.

The experts don't know everything, and they might not know what's right for you.

Fate is a future you didn't try hard enough to change.

Anyone looking for you can find you. Get them to find you when they're looking for something else.

Life gives you wonderful opportunities to conquer fears, learn skills, and master techniques. "I can't" shouldn't be synonymous with "I don't want to."

People seek out two things: information and entertainment. Offer them freely, and they'll come to you.

The Internet isn't temporary. What you post today can lead people to you decades from now.

Writing is a profession. Act professional.

No one said it would be fair, fun, or easy. But it can be worthwhile.

We're all in the same boat. Start rowing.

If you can quit, quit. If you can't quit, stop complaining--this is what you chose.

There are a lot of things that happen beyond your control. Your goals should be within your control.

Just because something is publishable doesn't mean it will get published. Just because something is published doesn't mean it will do well.

Write when you can. Finish what your start. Edit what you finish. Self-publish. Repeat.

The most successful people on the planet have one thing in common: nothing can stop them. Don't expect to reach your goals without sacrificing things that are important to you. You can't be both happy and ambitious.

Being your own best advocate is about understanding how people react to you.

Fake confidence, and real confidence follows.

Maybe you can't win. But you sure as hell can try.

Always have two hands reaching out. One, for your next goal. The other, to help people get to where you're at.

If you can't be smart or funny, be brief.

If you're not in love with the sound of your own voice, how can you expect anyone else to ever be?

Knowing you're not original is the first step in becoming unique.

There's a word for a self-published writer who never gives up... rich.

Road Blocks and a New Direction (Possibly)

Last night, a severe storm passed through our area. Our basement flooded and today we have to figure out how we are going to afford to replace the carpets down there.

On a different note, today my income from has posted. I'm happy to say that Poked and Prodded is doing better than I thought it was. That being said, I'm still a loooonnng way away from making money from my books.

I am seriously reconsidering finishing The Cholorza Outbreak to a novel length. Instead, I am considering revamping Poked and Prodded to make it even more marketable. I think I may have a better chance self-marketing Poked and Prodded. Sending off my stories to agents and publishers seems to be taking forever. So far, the two agents that had asked for partials have rejected Poked and Prodded.

Additionally, I plan to submit Writer's Block to two separate short story competitions. I have to polish the story this week and send it out by Friday. Let's hope I win one of those. Of course, that's another hurry up and wait game I have to play.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sad Realizations

So, in the last few days, I have been working hard to revamp The Cholorza Outbreak. While it sold okay as a free e-book, now that the free promotion is over, the book will be forgotten by all. I think there is one main reason why: it is way to short!

As it stands now, published on Amazon, it's only 18,000 words. That's nothing! So, I've been working to get it to 30,000 words. I've written in a second point of view, and it's giving some nice depth to the novel. Problem is, today I did more research on word counts. Sad news.

In order for my fiction book to become competitive, it has to be at least 70,000 words! After working hard for the last few days, I've only gotten The Cholorza Outbreak up to 25,000 words. That means I'm still roughly 50,000 words short!

I've done the math and I'm bound and determined to get this book finished by the end of the school year. Which means I only have five weeks to do it, yikes! Ready to see what that boils down to?

I need to write at least 10,000 words per week. Which means I need to write at least 2,000 five days a week. And these can't just be words for words sake either. These have to be polished, amazing, plot-building, character-developing driven words.

If being a full-time author is something I want to pursue, I have to do this. Unfortunately, Poked and Prodded is going to have to wait on the back burner, unless I find time to send out query letters for an incomplete manuscript. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just a Simple Thing

April 9th, 2012

Just been on "Diary of a Mad Writer's" blog. I'm inspired to keep my own writing blog. It won't be much but it will be nice to chronicle my journey.

I've written a memoir, Poked and Prodded over the last few weeks. I'm worried it won't get published because it's too short, at only 21,000 words. But, I don't have anything else to add to it, so I'm crossing my fingers.

I've sent out a query letter e-mail (which I'll say is way easier and faster than old-fashioned snail mail) to over 20 different literary agents. So far, I've gotten about 7 rejections ("project is not right for us at this time"). I'm surprised by how nice the rejection e-mails have been. Makes it easier.

One agency has asked for my manuscript. I'm very hopeful. Though they say it will take 4-6 weeks to review it. That's a long time to wait. So, for now, I'm going to put the thought of that publisher on the back burner.

Let's see, I've also self-published two books through Amazon. My wife is doing a great job promoting the books to everyone she knows. They will be free through Thursday. I'm really hoping they'll get some attention.

I think that's all for today!