Writing in a fog; a Nice Review; Story Mill v. Scrivener v. Word: the writing tools

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but for me the writing process has always been a bit murky, like I never know exactly what I’m doing. Over the years I have learned that–at least for me–it’s never going to be crystal clear. I now accept the fog. I would like to love it, but that’s not going to happen. What I have also discovered is that within the fog, the thick soup of the mind that envelopes you when you are processing a narrative, that at any given moment certain things, maybe just one, will be clear. Go with what you can see and that will become a compass to the next clear thing. It’s a bit like a scavenger hunt.

If you think you’d like a wisecracking hero desperately trying to keep a villain from ruining his life in New York City, you should check out David Hansard’s debut novel One Minute Gone. His hero, Porter Hall, keeps his sense of humor through a series of threats to his children and his life that rival Candide. Among the elements of the novel that hooked me include a sexy reporter that’s taken a professional and personal interest in him, his antagonistic relationship with New York cops, and his adorable twins he’s raising as a single parent.


Yesterday I found this nice little review of my Porter Hall novel, ONE MINUTE GONE, posted by Hopeton Hay, who does book reviews on radio station KAZI in Austin. He’s interviewed an amazing array of authors including Walter Mosley, David Baldacci, Marcia Clark and many more. Check out Hopeton’s Facebook page. “Like it” and you will get regular updates.

Until a few years ago I wrote everything from concept notes to first draft to final draft in Microsoft Word for Mac. I had an incredibly difficult time keeping track of everything. I would lose scenes, I would get sidetracked, waste time trying to figure out where I was. Also, because if I closed and reopened the file, I would ddo countless rewrites of the first few pages, since that’s where it always opened, when I should have been adding word count. In 2008, I started using Scrivener for drafts. It was a major improvement over Word, but for me it was still not perfect. Someone suggested Story Mill. SM was, for me, and maybe it has to do with the way my particular brain works, a massive improvement over Scrivener. Except for one small thing. Story Mill would crash and I would lose all my work. I was not alone in this and there were a lot of complaints on the Story Mill site and in chat rooms. I learned after that to periodically, every day or two, to export everything to Word. I have not had that problem in several years although I am now in the habit of occasional exports to Word, as well as now back both to an external drive and the Cloud. In short, after using dedicated composition tools like Story Mill and Scrvener, I will never go back to composing in Word. I have found, however, that once a complete draft, or maybe the second revision is finished. I prefer revising in Word to either of the dedicated platforms.

Thanks to Amazon, my book is a veritable bargain right now. 99 cents for the Kindle version, or free to borrow, and only $6.70 for the trade paperback, which may allow you to get the Kindle version included for free. (I think, but I’m not sure).


Happy New Year. I am so damn glad to be out of the old one I can’t begin to tell you.

Ebook pricing, Jerry Jeff Walker, Taxing Marijuana, Blue Dream and ONE MINUTE GONE

“Last week I was thinkin, it’s record time again…”

Which is what Jerry Jeff would think, whereas I would think it’s blogging time again…

Or maybe time to listen to

London Homesick Blues again images

It seems my neuroantennae have begun channeling Jerry Jeff Walker. If I had a choice, I’m not sure that’s whom I would choose to have speaking into my brain in the morning when I wake, but there are definitely worse, even in Texas. Especially in Texas. Ted Cruz comes to mind. I wish he  didn’t.

ONE MINUTE GONE  one_minute_gone_cover_largedh3

For years, medical marijuana has been available in Colorado, as it should be everywhere, IMHO, with a doctor’s approval, but effective January 1st, it will be available on a retail basis, without a doctor’s note. As it should be, IMHO. Not that doctors’ notes are hard to come by. They’re not. You just need some sort of medical condition. Chronic pain or anxiety will do nicely. Last week Colorado voters authorized a tax on retail marijuana that could go as high as 30%, maybe higher, as some local authorities want to add an additional tax. I don’t have a problem with that as long as the retail price, including tax, remains below the street level (illegal) strike point although retail availability may drive the street price down. From an economics standpoint it will be interesting to watch. One thing that has already happened is that Colorado is reaping something of an economic windfall as people move here, including a lot of baby boomers, to take advantage of the availability of regulated, high-quality pot. You know exactly what you are buying, whether it’s Indica or Sativa or a hybrid, and what the THC and CBD content are. It’s like going into a liquor store, or a good wine store, except the other patrons in an MMJ dispensary are more likely to be someone you would want to hang out with. Right, I am speaking for myself now.

The only other issue I have with the tax is that some of the locales that have prohibited retail sales (that’s fine, their privilege) want to participate in the revenue from the tax. That’s stupid. It’s even worse than the NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome, because it’s NIMBY-but-if-you-do-it-in-your-backyard and make money on it I want some. Remember The Little Red Hen? No one would help her plant the seed, harvest, etc., but everyone was willing to help her eat the bread? Same deal.

So what does all of this have to do with ebook pricing strategy? I haven’t figured that out, yet. Probably nothing. But in my last post I said the next would be on ebook pricing strategy so here it is:

How do you price your self-published ebook? As cheaply as possible. You’re not going to make much money, if any, until it starts to sell a lot of copies and the most important thing is to get it out there and into the hands of AMRAP. As many readers as possible. As fast as possible. Mine is at 99 cents. The same is true if you have a print-on-demand trade paperback. I set mine at $8.99, which is barely break-even, but Amazon is selling it today at $7.64, cutting the difference out of their share.

That’s about all I have to say about that. But if you come to Colorado, you can get really good marijuana cheap. Not as cheap as my ebook, but still cheap. If you buy my ebook for .99, or the POD for $7.50, you can also get an eighth of an ounce of something really good from an MMJ dispensary, like Blue Dream or Alaskan Thunderf**k for $25-30. There’s no connection between the two purchases, of course, I’m just saying… Get both and you’ll probably be happier. I know I will.