Thursday, March 28, 2019

Left Coast Crime Conference

This is the week of the Left Coast Crime Conference in Vancouver, BC. It will be a busy five days getting there, giving two minute pitches during the author speed dating, moderating the Meet the New Authors Breakfast, being on two panels, signing books, seeing old friends, meeting new people and flying home.

This will be the only mystery conference I attend this year. I’ve been to this conference eleven of the last twelve years. Next year, it’s in San Diego so that will be driving distance for me.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

When Do Authors Write?

When I give presentations, during the question and answer session people often ask about when I write. It’s not a simple answer, because I’ve gone through three different phases of my writing.

When I began writing in 2001, I still had a day job. I developed an approach by modifying the concept of Morning Pages developed by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Julia recommends writing three handwritten pages first thing every morning to get the creative juices flowing. She indicated this can be anything: a journal, random thoughts, whatever you choose to write. I modified her concept in this fashion: Every morning, I would review where I left off the day before in my current manuscript, then write three handwritten pages to continue the story. Then in the evening when I got home from my day job, I’d edit the three pages and enter them into the computer. This produced two typed pages. If you do the arithmetic, when I stuck with it, in 150 days I’d have a rough draft for a 300 page novel. This is the technique I used for my first four published mystery novels.
Then after I retired from my day job in 2007, I changed my approach to write directly into the computer. Being a morning person, I would write every morning, then exercise in the middle of the day and do editing and promotional activities in the afternoon. This was a very productive period for me and continued until the beginning of 2015. At the end of this period, I had completed rough drafts for thirty-one books. Of these, fifteen now have been published with two others under contract.
After my wife and I moved back to Southern California in 2015 to be near our new grandson, my schedule and approach changed again. I became a professional grandpa in the mornings doing things with our grandson. My writing since then has been focused on rewriting and editing my existing unpublished manuscripts in the afternoons and weekends to prepare them for publication.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Piracy

There’s been a lot of discussion lately on social media about book piracy—organizations that give away authors’ works for free without permission. What has amazed me is the backlash from some people thinking an author’s works should be free. I bet these same people don’t think professional athletes and entertainers should ply their trade for free. Professional writers need to be compensated for their work as any other people who work to provide a product or service.