I’m one of those writers who doesn’t do well with interruptions. I work in an office adjacent to my living room. Our open concept means I have no office door … no real privacy.
I’m also one of those writers married to a woman I love. I’m lucky. She wants to share everything with me: her latest painting; her new hobby, etc. Throughout the day, as I busy myself with writing, she’ll pop into my office to share something requiring my undivided attention. She seems oblivious to the fact that I’m hip deep in a scene in my book requiring a degree of creativity. It’s frustrating because after she’s done sharing her excitement over something important to her, I have to restart my creative engine; not always easy!

The hard part is, I can’t say anything without bruising my wife’s tender feelings. One would think, after 44 years of marriage, we would have worked through this conundrum, but it is what it is. My wife’s tender feelings are more important to me than my creative process.

Word Count Objective

The genre of my first book was historical fiction. Boyhood Adventures had a word count of 55,000. The book I’m working on now, Wings of Valor, is also a historical fiction book with a planned word count of 100,000 – 110,000. Why the difference? Literary agents say that first books, by unknown authors, are more marketable if short and sweet. But I’ve also learned that I can’t believe everything I hear. More importantly, it depends on who’s doing the advising. An abundance of agents I’ve been listening to lately have me relying on their counsel that word count is important. So, I get it. But I also know, you damn well better have something worthwhile to say if you’re gonna get wordy. So now I’m hip deep in Wings of Valor. I’m on chapter two and up to 6,000 words. The book will have ten chapters. So, doing the math keeps me on my toes. My writing style is that of a pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. The style works for me. But I’m not averse to plotting, at least in forming the basic idea of the story. The good news is that I’m enjoying writing chapter two. I believe the word count will be about 9,000 by the time I’m done. I love being a writer, but it can be stressful.

Confidence in Writing

I’m discovering that confidence in writing comes with just sitting down at my keyboard and start hammering away. I’m a blessed man. Scenes come to mind all on their own. Then comes the editing. I follow the advice of Mr. Jerry Jenkins (author of the Left Behind series). He suggests beginning each day I’d writing by editing the work done the previous session. That works for me.

Self-Publishing Nightmare

Setting your foot in a bear trap is a painful experience. I know. I’ve done it. It hurts. But as the Lord once said to the prophet, Joseph Smith, “All these things shall give thee experience.” And so it goes. Self publishing a book is a study in adversity. It also can be expensive. But there certainly is a light looming ahead. I can remove my foot from the bear trap and refuse to put it in there again.

So now I’m searching for a literary agent. One who will be kind, and gentle, and easy on my wallet. I’m learning how to write in a new genre: query letters. Like most everything else in life, it’ mostly about learning. The trick is to love it, which I do.

Lessons in Life

Life’s lessons never seem to end. Recently I learned that it doesn’t pay to rewrite a book and use the same title. Boyhood Adventures – Second Edition seemed like a good idea at the time, but now … not so much.In my effort to market my new book, I have found I have made it difficult for folks to run a Google search. The original book shows up instead of the second edition.

Countdown to 2nd Edition

Page Publishing is working on the cover design for the 2nd. edition of Boyhood Adventures. I’m very excited about the pending launch of this new book. I think I’ve improved the humorous aspects of the work, as well as increasing the dramatic tones. I will post the enhanced cover image as soon as I approve the final version. I would appreciate feedback from my followers.

Work Continues

Recently I decided to write a second edition of Boyhood Adventures. I was unhappy with much of the self-editing I had done and there was much I wanted to add to the book. Battling the forces of procrastination and writer’s block, I finally submitted my project for professional editing and publication. I chose Page Publishing to work with me on this and, so far, I am very pleased with them. To date, the text has been edited and formatted to my satisfaction. There is a bit of art work being processed and that will take another 3/5 weeks to complete. After that comes the cover design, then final approval for publication.

Depicting the Bad Guy as a Good Guy

One of my current projects is a book entitled, The Troubleshooter. The story features a newly-trained Army OSS officer tasked with bringing Waffen-SS war criminals to justice. Fresh out of spy school, our hero quickly discovers that the world of clandestine combat conflicts in a big way with his Christian values.

The stark realities of capital punishment become all too vivid, and, in short, our would-be hero finds himself ensnared by a military justice system that he feels may destroy his soul. Upon reporting for duty in Holland, he finds himself the newest member of a squad of OSS operatives known only to themselves as, “The Troubleshooters.”

As a writer, I will be maneuvering under, over, around, and through the ethics of an honorable man. The story describes how the values of this man are stressed as he witnesses the residual fragments of humanity left in the wake of evil men committing heinous and barbarous acts. Our hero reassesses his moral paradigm and attempts to answer a question that haunts him: “What is justice?”

The literary process of altering a human value system is truly challenging. Equally demanding is satisfying readers that the main character is a hero, and is justified in exacting capital punishment without “due process.” World history helps me out a bit.

History has depicted members of the Nazi Waffen-SS as examples of the darkest form of evil. The war criminals being pursued by the Troubleshooters were barbaric and unfeeling as they used torture and agonizing death as tools of demonic acts of terror. It’s tough to tell the story in a manner wherein the reader approves of summary execution, notwithstanding the villainous nature of Waffen-SS soldiers. But the story reveals them as merciless (and even enthusiastic) executioners of helpless victims, including members of the French underground, and American and Allied prisoners of war.

So, there it is. Is the hero of the story a Bad Guy – or is he a Good Guy? Will he inherit eternal damnation for his sins or will he have earned a place in a glorified kingdom?

I suppose the readers of the story will sit in judgment.