Musings About Writing Another Novel

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Walker II is Posted to Kindle


That was aggravating as hell. . . .  First, the cover art I wanted to use wouldn’t work – for various reasons that I later learned after reading about other people’s trial and errors for a couple days.

So . . . after spending hours studying the subject, I finally learned a few things.  What I learned is that my first cover should not have been accepted either!

Anyway, I now have all the proper specs for a cover written down and know what is necessary.  Except, I also know that I do not have the proper software to make a nice book cover.  I do know how to take photos, though, and how to format them properly for a cover.  What I can’t do yet is get the writing on the cover properly, in color, so it looks nice.  All I can do now is black or white lettering.

So, here’s what I came up with for the new Walker II novel:


Yeah, not the best, to be sure.  But it’ll have to do for a while as a placeholder to get the book published. 

Then came all the little checkboxes and such Amazon wants filled out to publish a book.  Some are a bit small for my old eyes and I had some problems with that.  It doesn’t help that a couple of them are almost invisible and that there is no consistency in the style used in the three pages of stuff to fill out.  So, that took me a day to get it all correct to Amazon’s satisfaction. 

I checked the text formatting of the novel in the two systems I have available and it looked rather good – better than the first book.  However, as I’ve read here and there, that doesn’t always mean that the book will look exactly like that when published; so we shall see what it looks like as soon as Amazon releases it.

Anyway . . . I’m done fooling around with that.  So, now I can get to the part I wanted: writing the third book in the series! 

Really, I wish all I had to do was the writing part.  That’s easier than all the associated crap necessary to get something published. 

Happy writing (and reading) y’all. 



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Problems Publishing


Walker II is done.  Editing is complete.  However, I do not have a book cover.

I’ve got many hours into trying to make a book cover that the Kindle system would accept.  No luck yet.  One interesting point is that the system will not even accept the book cover that I used for the first novel!  I tried that just for the hell of it.  Didn’t work.

No other errors come up when formatting with the Mobipocket software that’s recommended.  I only get an error for the book cover.  Too small, it says.

All this damn time spent with creating a book cover and formatting the text to get it posted to Kindle could be much better spent writing the next novel.  I’m itching to get started on that right now.  Instead, I’m screwing around with stupid stuff. . . . 

So, I’ll try to get the second novel published – fooling around with the system and trying to make a book cover -- for another week or so.  If that doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll go back to writing op-eds.

After all, writing op-eds has always been easy for me. They were well received and I had nothing else to do besides write.  They got their own legs and were always quickly published by others for me.

On the other hand, I like writing novels and I’m starting to see that if I had four or five in the series posted they would probably do rather well. 

So, I’ll take a few days and study all of the “how to do it” text I can find and see if I can get Walker II posted on Kindle.  I did it a couple months ago, just don’t remember how. 

Always something! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Walker II is Almost Done


Thanks to the fast reading eagle-eye of Forest, my second novel is just about all edited.  Not only is he a fast editor (comes with being a teacher for a few decades and correcting hundreds of papers every semester), he doesn’t miss anything. 

Of course, as I said below, he earned his Masters in education about sixty years ago when they were real sticklers on how the English language was used.

Anyway, I spend half of yesterday and most of this morning editing.  Forest said that the spelling and typos are corrected (he found about twenty!) and he will look at “other stuff” later.  I don’t know what this “other stuff” is yet, but have a feeling I’m going to find out soon.  He already mentioned grammar in a couple places so this could get interesting.

With him correcting, I’m actually getting a refresher course in English language while editing. 

Did I say that Ann helped with some of the editing, too?  Yup, she caught quite a few of my blunders early on.  She read the “dailies” and kibitzed some.  Forest is adding the polish.

I’ve still got the required formatting to do and other odds and ends, so I’m far from done yet.  Then, before I push that button to send the novel over to Amazon for publication, I’ll have to read it one more time.  Hopefully, I won’t see any problems that need correction. 

These are the writing problems for me.  Besides the fact that I can’t spell worth a darn and read right over some of my errors, there’s all this reformatting and converting that is necessary.  My biggest problem, however, is getting the book cover done! 

I know that my “book cover” looks a lot more like a photograph with words on it (that’s what it is) than a real book cover.  But, that was the best that I can do by myself. We just won’t mention the fact that it’s wide, rather then tall like a real book cover.  But if I try to change that the formatting package necessary for Amazon will not allow it. I do not know why, that’s just the way it is.

Anyway, I may be good to go this week and have the second novel published.  That is, the words will be right and if the formatting software buys the book cover we’re all set to publish.

Well . . . back to work.


Happy writing y’all.   



Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Second Novel is Almost Ready


Yup, I’ve been working hard editing and whatnot.  I’ve put a lot of time in working in front of this computer for the last few days.

I also had to find some way to make a cover because the deal proposed by someone did not materialize.  That’s a damn shame, too! 



So, above is the new cover for the second book in the series.  Not being a graphics artist, that’s about the best I can do.  It’s either that or spend a quite few bucks on some good graphics software and then take a couple weeks to learn it. 

Anyway, the second novel is in editing by someone who has been editing and correcting English for about sixty years.

He bought the first novel and sent me corrections anyway.  So, this time I sent him a prepublication copy to look at. 

I mean, what the hell, if he’s going to correct anyway, why should he have to pay for a copy? 

Anyone looking for a great editor – someone with a Masters degree in education from fifty years ago when they were strict about the English language – can contact me.  He usually keeps busy playing and composing music for some very good groups, but I’ll bet that he’ll play book editor for a reasonable price. 

This man edited well over two-thousand of my editorials over ten years and I know he’s good. 

However, this is the first time he has edited (pre-publication) any fiction for me and I hope the old professor isn’t too hard on me. . . . 

He’s quick, too.  So, I expect that I’ll be able to post the novel to Amazon sometime next week – depending on how much editing he wants me to do (that I accept and do).

Having him read the novel is also kind of a test for me.  He doesn’t read fiction much.  But, he reported that he got caught in the flow of the first novel and found himself reading it late into the night.

Also, we’re friends.  So if he doesn’t like something, I am very sure that he will tell me. . . .

So, if he gets interested in this novel also, I’m thinking that it may get some legs and sell some.  One can hope, anyway.

Happy writing, y’all. 





Friday, August 12, 2011

Reading and Writing


Apparently, some people don’t believe that I read more than I write every day.  Yeah, I read my own stuff, too, to edit.  But that’s not what I’m talking about. 

Among the novels that I like are those by James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Jeffery Deaver.  Of course, I’ll grab a book written by Elmore Leonard anytime I can find a new one. 

At the moment, I’m reading a Bourne story by Robert Ludlum and Eric Van Lustbader.  That’s not my favorite style writing to read, but I’ve read all the Bourne series. 

Also, I have been reading some of the books by folks published on Kendle so I have some idea of what’s selling there.

When reading on an e-reader device or my EVO phone I like to see novels with shorter chapters and plenty of stopping points – like breaks between scenes.  I also think that short paragraphs are preferable. So that’s how I’m trying to write.  I’ve heard that mentioned by readers who are not writers a few times, too.

Like me, I suspect that many people carry their devices around and continue reading whenever the opportunity arises.  Many of these opportunities to read may not be very long.  So, having many stopping points throughout the story can be important.

And don’t you just hate it when one paragraph fills up the whole damn screen?  I do!  So I try to keep my paragraphs to six or less lines.   

That’s not how I was in the habit of writing before I started writing for mobile devices, of course.

Then comes the instructions from Elmore Leonard:  Interview your characters before you start so you know how they will speak and act.  Describe most of what is going on through the conversation between the characters, rather than just describing (declarative?) the action. And keep the story moving with different actions by different characters – some of which may be unexpected to the reader.

That sounded easy when I first tried it.  It doesn't work out all that well for me yet, though.

On the other hand, I don’t want to steal Dutch Leonard’s style, I want my own to develop.  And, in many ways it is.

Will people like the style that is developing here?  I can’t say.  Time will tell. 

My plan is to have three to five books published on Kindle and then start promoting the series on the net.

If those books sell, I’ll write more in the series.  If not, I have another idea that I know a couple somewhat large groups will be interested in.  But that one would probably be a one book deal.

Anyway, I’m amusing myself with what I’m doing now.  The first novel is selling a few every week with zero promotion.  Heck, I’ve even seen a couple people on Facebook mention it favorably – and they weren’t writing to me, either. 

If I can make a book cover for it, I may have the second novel published around the end of next week. 

What’s left of my somewhat addled brain is already outlining scenes from the third novel. 



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Busy editing


There has not been a lot of time for writing on this blog because there’s lots of editing going on over here.

I’ve read over the whole novel at least two times in the past few days.  Along the way I corrected and changed a few things. 

Along the way, I noticed that some of the characters had a little more they wanted to say and do here and there, so I’m letting them do it.

I wanted to keep the storyline fast moving but I’m not really sure I did that in all chapters.  For instance, there’s one section of how someone feels waking up after being out quite some time from a closed head injury. Getting it medically correct does not exactly make for fast reading.

However, I’m betting there are a couple chuckles in that section for anyone who has ever been in a hospital for any length of time.  Just because some things are serious doesn’t mean that they cannot also be a little humorous.

I’m going to take a couple days off from the novel.  I’ll read and edit again next week and then it might be finalized.  Maybe.

Of course writing is somewhat like engineering to me in some ways.  That is, I’ll never stop working on it until someone needs it and snatches it out of my hands to use (read). 

More later. . . .

Happy writing (reading, too!) y’all! 



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Am I done?


What do you do when you’re done? 

In the past couple days I read over the whole novel, correcting stuff here and there, deleting things that add nothing to the story and rewriting a little here and there to make reading more fun.

The novel is intended for the mobile market.  To me, that means that it should have shorter paragraphs and more stopping points. The problem is, I often tend to write in “full sized” paragraphs.  So, I fixed some of that, too.

Well . . . surprise, surprise!  When I read the whole novel over to the end I realized that it was essentially done.  That is, all of the threads I wished to be completed are completed and the story has reached a logical conclusion.

Did the characters get the job(s) done?  Yeah, they received an unexpected assist that helped them out some.  Mostly, though, they did it all on their own.

Really, I didn’t plan to have the story end yet.  I was just sitting here writing away and the story ended on its own. The unruly people in the book managed to wind things up somewhat properly before I had my maximum word count.  So, I guess I’ll quit now. 

Oh sure, this book is one of a series so there is some foreshowing in there.  That is, all threads are basically done but readers will probably realize that some may continue on in some form in the next novel.

A couple of the people, including the protagonist, almost got themselves killed off and didn’t make it to the next novel.  But they lived and will be around to cause (and correct) more stuff.

I may take a few days and expand on a couple things in this novel, just for the fun of it.  But I really don’t have to.

Actually, I could start on the third in the series if I wished.  I’ll wait a few days, though.

Anyway, there’s still a glaring problem:  I don’t have a book cover and don’t know how to make one properly. I hate to put up another piece of crap for a cover, but I may not have a choice.

Always something!      


Friday, August 5, 2011

Fiction follows the News?


Reading the news this morning, I see that Fox News published a story about Mexican drug cartels that is especially interesting to me:

 Cartel Boss Says U.S. Allowed Drug Smuggling

 What makes this so interesting to me is that, a few days ago, I wrote something very close to this into the storyline of my upcoming novel.

Yesterday’s word-count was high.  Then I took a break and decided to edit, starting at the beginning.  I’m glad I did that because I found ten or twelve problems that need correcting.  I also added a few little things here and there. 

A reader of the first novel wrote to say that my writing is like a modern version of pulp fiction.  However, she also asked when the next novel will be published, so I guess that was a good thing.

Hey, I never said that my writing would win any prizes!  I’m just shooting for an interesting and fast paced story.  If that works, people can call my style anything they want.

No word about book covers yet.  My fingers are crossed, though!  That’s a stopping point for me because I make a mess when I try to make my own.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good news: Writing and the new Book Cover(s)


This was another good day writing.  My morning editing went well and I somehow transitioned right into adding more text. 

The writing part is not difficult for me.  One major stumbling block with the first novel was the book cover.  I knew what I wanted, just not how to do it! 

Really, I spent about a week trying to make a cover that the Kindle system would allow me to use.  I couldn’t publish because I didn’t have a cover. 

It was very frustrating! 

Well, the good news is that a professional photographer noticed and we talked about getting a proper cover done.  Actually, we talked about redoing the first cover and also making the next two.

I went over to his portfolio and spent some time browsing around until I found three photos that were a fit with the storyline.

When we talked, I mentioned that I would be happy to give him credit for the cover.  But better than that, I plan to point others needing book covers to him on Facebook and in the writer’s forums.  After all, as I’ve learned, I’m not the only one with this problem.

Running a word count for the work already done today I see that I’ve already added 1,900+ words to the novel.  I’ll probably do more later, but that’s a nice afternoon’s work.

Happy writing, y’all! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Had Some Writing Time Today


Part of the art of writing is re-writing, of course.  So I started out my day as always, editing what I wrote the last couple days.  My style “editing” includes clarifying parts that weren’t very clear, fixing typos and spelling errors Word didn’t catch the first time around and often adding a few little things here and there to make the text sound more like real life. 

I didn’t get a full day’s work in today because we went to see a cute house on Lake Michigan this afternoon.  Well, maybe not actually “on” Lake Michigan, but right across the road with a view of the Lake between some hardwood trees. The place is plenty large enough, the price is right and we’re thinking about it. . . . 

Now we’re back home and have dinner in the belly so I’m back up in the loft ready to think about what I wrote earlier. 

What I wrote today was one good surprise situation I thought about adding while out walking the dog last night.  That scene is already about 1,700 words long and just (maybe) starting to wind down.  I suppose it will be over 2,000 words long before I move on.  I’m not sure about that, though.

I can honestly say that I do not know how long each scene will be because my characters have minds of their own.  They all think differently and each often wants to do things their own way.  So if I, as the writer, want to keep them all properly in character, I have to sit back and watch them do what they’re going to do in any situation.  I think that my job is to write about what they do, not direct them.

So, I’ll have to admit that not everything comes out my way.  They usually get results, just not always the way I might do things personally.

Anyway, I’m out of here and back at it!

Happy writing, folks. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nothing’s Working Very well Today


Have you ever had one of those days when even your computer keeps you from writing?

First, Firefox crashed for whatever reason.  Well, that’s not usually a big problem.  Except that it wouldn’t load again!  It actually took over five minutes to get restarted. 

Then the batteries in my cordless mouse went dead on me.  And, of course, I couldn’t find anymore AA batteries. 

Well, I finally did locate two new ones, but it took a while. 

Then I wanted to make this blog.   Well, truth be known, I don’t know a lot about blogging and Google wouldn’t let me in again.

They said it was a password thing so I redid my password. 

However, I like to use Microsoft Writer to do blogs.  But, the password thingie acted up yet again and it took quite a while to get Writer to sync with this new blog.  Also, it’s been a few months since I’ve used Writer and my addled brain needed a little re-learning so as to get things the way I like to see them published.

But, obviously, I did that. 

Then I walked downstairs for some Pepsi.  When I returned something called HP Support Assistant was using my computer!  Once I turned that damn thing off I wasn’t really in the mood for writing anymore.  lol 

Anyway, now we’re just an hour away from dinnertime, so what’s the point of getting started?





First Kindle Novel Published in June




Yup, my first novel was published in June on Amazon as a Kindle e-book.  It’s marketed for just $2.99 and is actually selling some, too!  I’ve even got a few good reviews on it.  You can find the Walker Chronicles with just one click.  I hope you like it. 

The sequel is in the works and may be available soon.  More about this later.