Thursday, November 28, 2013


This has been a year of ups and downs. I’ve been fortunate that members of my family have been healthy and that I’ve had three books published. On the downside I had a heart attack nine weeks ago, but even with that, I’m thankful to be recovering and getting back to writing, walking and giving presentations.

Right now I’m looking out my window at a perfectly blue sky with a section of the first Flatiron above Boulder in view and in the distance the snow-covered peaks of the Rockies. All the leaves are off the trees, which allows more of a panorama that during the summer. I’m alive and kicking. Life is good!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Do you ever struggle with setting priorities? Do you look at the dreaded to-do list and try to decide what’s important and what can wait?

In the last two months I have reassessed a number of my priorities. I always pride myself on meeting my commitments, but I’ve decided to not make as many commitments as I did before my wakeup call eight weeks ago. I have resigned from several positions and said no to several requests for my services. This is because I plan to focus on the important priorities in my life, but not to become overwhelmed by too many action items.

My top priority is my family. My wife and I just returned from a trip to see two of our kids and two grandchildren. I admit the trip was also for a one-day mystery conference, the always enjoyable Men of Mystery in Irvine, California, but there’s nothing wrong with mixing work and pleasure on trips.

My writing is also a priority, but I’m not going to put as much time into it as I did BHA (before heart attack). I’m going to allow myself to take naps and relax and not be as compulsive about my writing.

And I will continue to do promotional events. I enjoy giving presentations and will give talks as schedule permits, again keeping a balance so I don’t spend too many hours a day on my feet.

And exercise. I enjoy walking and will continue my regular walks, hikes and snowshoe expeditions, again for reasonable amounts of time. I don’t need to scale any mountains or complete endurance hikes.

Finally, I will continue my volunteer work in the world of elders.

Those are my top priorities. How about you?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Toxic Success

A friend of mine introduced me to the concept of toxic success. Some of the elements that struck home included: 1. Enough is never enough, and 2.Hurry to use every minute to make up for perceived inadequacy. I’ve been writing since 2001, and in 2007 I retired to write full time. I’ve had some measure of success: seven published novels with one more due in May of 2014, two nominations for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery novel and twenty-seven completed novel-length manuscripts.

The challenge for me is finding the right balance. Part of my success has been my perseverance,  and a strong work ethic. I wrote every day and also dedicated time to giving presentations and promoting my books, but I definitely had become wrapped up in the two points of toxic success listed above. I put pressure on myself to always be doing more. Part of that led to more completed manuscripts, but I could also get compulsive about my writing.

My wakeup call was the heart attack I had seven weeks ago. My goal is now to keep my writing life in proper perspective. I will keep writing and promoting, but if I miss a day, take a nap, stop to chat with friends or just relax, I will no longer view these as taking time away from my “success.” As they say, “Stop and smell the roses.” I’m glad to be alive.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Amazon Kindle Programs

Now that I have put four of my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mysteries on Amazon Kindle, I’m participating in a number of different Kindle programs. The first book in the series, Retirement Homes Are Murder, is on Kindle Select. I’ve also placed all the books in the Kindle MatchBook program so they can be purchased at a discount in conjunction with purchasing a print copy.

The most recent program is Kindle Countdown. It starts today and Retirement Homes Are Murder will be priced at ninety-nine cents for a week.

The other thing I’ve done is to add hypertext links to all of these four books that point to the other books in the series including one put on Kindle by my publisher and my two paranormal mysteries, The V V Agency and The Back Wing, put on Kindle by other publishers.

I’ll be monitoring how these programs work.