Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I love this quote from Flannery O'Connor on writing

This is from Flannery O'Connor, in her essay, "The Fiction Writer and His Country," written in 1969:

"St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in instructing catechumens, wrote: 'The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.' No matter what form the dragon may take, it is of this mysterious passage past him, or into his jaws, that stories of any depth will always be concerned to tell, and this being the case, it requires considerable courage at any time, in any country, not to turn away from the storyteller."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A month in the woods - the day before

My friend Robert has decided to move into the woods for a month.

It's not a camping trip, or a long hike. He's gainfully employed and will be working the whole time. But one lease just ended, and before he signs another, he's decided to fulfill a lifelong dream--seeing what it would be like to live outdoors.

I've known Robert since the first grade--about a million years ago. He's always been a serious outdoorsman, and loves the wild more than a soft bed.

He's texting me everyday to document his experience. I'll be posting his texts here. Here's the first one:

It's official...tomorrow I'm signing a one-month lease with mother nature...and the creator of the universe is my landlord.

a month in the woods - day one

This is the ongoing document of my friend Robert's experiment--living in the woods for 30 days, while working. His brother, Ron, is joining him.

Well, I spent all night getting ready to after work we are heading to the woods. This is my last morning here. It's 35 degrees out and snowed a teeny bit last night. I'm committed now...signed my lease last night. People might think I'm crazy...or weird. But I think everyone wishes they could even contemplate what I'm going to do. I'm going to do this no matter what the weather brings. And besides, it's only 30 days. I can't wait to sit by a fire...listening to the river...and watching the leaves fall. And not watch TV...or hear sirens. Day one.

Just about to self publish my first book

Seth is about to come alive. I've got the cover art done, edited and re-edited. All that's left is buying the ISBN number and hitting the publish button. Stand by.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Five reasons why I’ve decided to start self-publishing.

Five reasons why I’ve decided to start self-publishing.

1.     I want an audience. If I strike it big with a publisher and get a New York Times bestseller, lots of people will read my stories. Woohoo. But wishing for that is like wishing to win the lottery. It takes more luck than my current allocation. And in the mean time, the only people who read my books seem to be a small handful of underpaid editors in beige cubicles. Apparently, editors are very slow readers, because it takes so long to hear back from them.
2.     I want speed. The publishing industry makes glaciers look like NFL running backs. I don’t understand this one. With the web, I can finish editing a story and have it on Amazon or iTunes in a week. With a publisher, it will take a year to get an offer, six months to complete a contract, then another 18 months to two years for the book to get released. Why? This makes no sense to me.

"It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom. And royalties."
3.     I want control. I am seriously tired of having some dude in an office on the 30th floor of some Manhattan skyscraper decide if there is an audience for my books. I’d like readers to let me know if they like the stories.
4.     I want to push forward, not backwards. Traditional publishing is begging new media channels to kill it.
5.     I want perpetuity. Self-published ebooks never go out of print. The inventory is never “allowed to run out.”
6.     Bonus reason: I want the crowd to decide. Is my writing good or bad? Right now, that decision is being made by a chosen, random few. But I’d rather let readers decide and vote in the most honest way. Am I writing something good enough for them to pay for it, with their own hard-earned money, and then read it, with their own hard-earned time?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Just had to share how fast I skied last night

Last night, my son Abel and I went up to Snoqualmie Summit Central for a few hours of night skiing. I had downloaded a new ski app on my phone called ski tracks, which, among other things, records your top speed. At first, I forgot to turn it on. Then, on my next run, I hit 45 mph (on triple 60 face, for those who care). We did the same run again, and I hit 48. Then, on the next run, we went across the triple 60 cat track. I jumped off about 50 feet before the end and just aimed the skis straight, ignoring the ruts and the moguls. When I got to the bottom, still standing, I checked my speed.

53.1 miles per hour.

Not bad for an old dude skiing at night in the springtime.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I share this post with complete understanding of the possible outcomes.

I made a commitment, wise or foolish, to try, whenever possible, to transparently share about the writing and publishing experience. And I've been struggling along in this endeavor for a decade. During that time, I've gotten some great outcomes and some heartbreaking disappointments. So whenever I share potential good news, I do it with the full understanding that, at any time, that good news could turn to, ahhh, crap.

That said, today I received an astonishingly hopeful email from Editor X at the Penguin Young Readers Group. Like all the good emails, it was sent to me from my agent, the esteemed Abigail Samoun. The email read as follows:

Hi Abi, 

I just finished the new draft of SETH. I love it! The changes Tom made are just what the story needed. I’d honestly forgotten how good it is. I was sad to turn that last page.
I think it’s ready to show my publisher. He’s pretty busy, though, so it may be a couple of weeks before he can get to it. Are you still shopping it around? If you get any interest, let me know, and I’ll light a fire under his butt.
Hope you had a great holiday. I’m counting on 2013 being The Year of Seth.

Then Editor X signed his or her name and Abigail, in her note to me, made some comments about biting her fingernails.

So there you have it.