for me, for you

Every time you think I should just give up already, ask yourself this question: even if I never made another dime writing…would I still bother to write at all?

The answer (for me at least) is always, yes.

Frankly speaking, that should be more than enough. Don’t quit your day job. Don’t spoil your mind with cluttered thinking about bills and how you dream of the day your book lands international bestseller lists. All that is garbage. Probably won’t happen. It really won’t happen if you just quit. And if you do quit, you’re probably not a real writer anyway.

Hang tight. Writing’s a bumpy ride, but it’s worth it.

Typecast writer?

You’ve seen movie and television actors get typecast for certain roles they play, and play very well. One thing I don’t think is talked about a lot are typecast writers. Every writer you are familiar with tends to stick with a genre they’re comfortable (and or preferably best-selling in) with. Somehow I doubt that many people who write for a living (or even if they just write to see their books out there like I do) want to be typecast.

Enter the nom-de-plume, the alias, the pseudonym. People that write for a living (or not) don’t want to write about one topic, one genre, or one kind of anything for the rest of their lives. Writers (and artists in general) are multifaceted people with numerous and varied interests. They want to express their enthusiasm for different aspects of life that appeal to them. For some (like myself) they want to write a novel that has a lot of hair-raising, nail biting, tension filled scenes and a deep plot that involves a few twists and turns, but then there’s the other side of me. The one that has a real talent for helping people heal at an energetic level. 

The question becomes; “How do I strike a balance between these two (seemingly) opposing natures?” The guy who wants to write crazy fun, cool stories, and the same guy who wants to share insights into the powerful world of healing and love? I’m not talking about being polarized, or divided at all. I’m talking about the very real person who has it all within his or herself. Just like you do. Just like we all do. 

If you can typecast an actor, or an artist, or a writer, then shouldn’t we also start typecasting the people who consume art and entertainment media? If I know you like horror flicks, should I start referring to you as that “horror-lover-guy”? If your interests range from romance novels to shoot-em-up movies, why can’t another author’s interests be similarly ranged? 

Hugh Howey writes in different genres, but he’s known for his science fiction best. Stephen King writes all kinds of stories, couched within his typecast world of “supernatural horror”. But he writes about romance, and science fiction within his novels. He has had to resort to sneaking things in his body of work, thus subtly expanding his genre. In other words, he’s had to “pretty up his jail cell”. Even Dean Koontz and J.K. Rowling have written books under different pen-names.

Why should authors have to be so confined by readers? I think writers are writers and they should write using their own name in whatever genre appeals to them at a given time. And we should stop labeling them.

Now, all this being said, I think it’s important for writers to protect themselves through the anonymity a different name provides them. For instance, if a writer decided they wanted to write something truly controversial (think The Satanic Verses) and put it out into the world without fear of retribution. Salmon Rushdie has had to deal with the consequences afforded him by his strong and counter-religious views. Maybe a housewife wants to write and publish word-porn without backlash from her local community–a nom-de-plume is a great way for her to alleviate her (justified) concerns.

Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should say it without a good way of protecting yourself as the need may arise. We have free speech here in America, but that is not the case in other countries. China has banned access to gmail, and that’s not even a (necessarily) free speech platform! The point is, I’m not slagging off the usage of pseudonyms, I’m advocating them for authors who want to use them. On the other hand it would really be nice for writers to forgo them if they want to branch out and test other waters.

Pursuit and Plight Trilogy Talk and Deal

plightvover

NEW! Get your copy today!

Not the most captivating blog title, I know. But I am one excited author! It’s taken me 2 years to get Plight, second in the series, out to your eyeballs. And in this business that’s a long time. Often it’s a death knell. But I have some devoted fans of Owen’s adventures, so I’m pretty darned lucky.

Book 1 of the Owen Hunter Series

Get it FREE Weds the 18th – Fri the 20th!

I want to take this moment to tell you, Pursuit is going to be available for free on Kindle starting day after tomorrow, Wednesday February 18th until Friday February 20th. That way, if you haven’t already read Pursuit and don’t yet want to make the jump to Plight, you can do so by downloading and reading Pursuit first. Then, once you’re familiar with the story and characters, you can leap into Plight knowing that things really do pick up where they left off. And man you’re going to be in for a ride. Oh…and lest I completely forget to mention it, you can grab your physical copy direct from my e-store (provided by Amazon for security and assurance purposes) with an 5% discount if you order with this code: VSJAZX5U at checkout. But you have to purchase your paperback* through this e-store.

Also, for you paperback lovers, both books in the series (and in future all books in the series) offer the free kindle download when you purchase the paperback copy from Amazon.com. You can order the paperback and begin reading it that day until the physical copy arrives.

Plight has been the most intense adventure for me personally to write, rewrite, and to lose chapters on. It’s made me a better writer, I think (I hope) because of its high demand to be not only a great story, but completely riveting from beginning to end. I don’t think you’ll find anything boring, but like any good roller coaster rides, there are moments of slow and interesting followed by whoa and hang on to your scream-bars powerful.

I’m in the midst of writing the 3rd in the series, the conclusion of the primary series, and as I’ve noted before, there may just be other books related to Owen Hunter’s world. I’m also in the middle of writing my autobiography, odd as that might sound to new-comers. But when you lead a life as bizarre and full as I have, you just have to share. Right?

I hope it’s a happy and enthralling February for you all!

A message to authors and writers.

Howdy folks,

Happy 2015!

This is a quick and simple message. Us authors love to write, and share our opinions and get the word out about what we’re thinking. Often what we think is golden.

So here’s a message, a quick and simple idea that has occurred to us all at some point or other on our journey to writing books.

Put down your blog pencils keyboards and pick up your book-writing implements. Your messages and astounding ideas do not belong on Facebook, or your blog!, They belong in books. I know I’m sounding a bit like Indiana Jones when he talks about certain artifacts belonging in museums. I feel the same way about our words as he did about precious historical items.

Books that you create and sell. Period. I know it’s occurred to you often enough for you to have written several dozen books, so I’m just confirming what you already know.

Happy writing!

-Scott

The Myth of More

I think those of us that consider themselves artists (of whatever variety) often underestimate the power of our creativity. Even our impact on just one person exposed to our creations can too easily go unnoticed by us, perhaps even ignored outright. In truth, people with creative natures, think, believe, and perhaps expect that the only way their creations matter is if they have a LARGE audience. A BIG following. Fans.

In truth we can have all the fans we want. They don’t cost too much at the Home Depot. All kidding aside, I think we get trapped in the race for money and prestige at our accomplishments, rather than just appreciating the very real and hard-won effort that is our completed creation. With its imperfections and all, our creation is the manifestation of our concentration and effort.

The Myth of More has to do with the idea that you’ll somehow be happier if you have more money, more fans, more awards, more recognition. In truth, or so I’ve come to find out, that stuff doesn’t last long, is awkward as it’s happening, and then leaves behind in its wake a haunting memory of “the good old days”.

I’m somewhat referring to myself here. I had a brief splash on a bigger scene than what I was used to. And lately I’ve been writing about it in my upcoming autobiography, By Heart. I’m doing this on the side while I try to get the second book PLIGHT all fixed up and ready for some time in the New Year.

Having more often means doing more. Of course there’s nothing wrong with it. But I think that at the end of the day you have to ask yourself; Is this really who I am? Is this really what I want? Because if it turns out not to be, you’ve dug yourself an awesome hole. And the only way out is further in.

Fame often attends to the scene of More, standing by like a an aloof Angel of Promise, just there, but always fickle enough to fly off to someone else who just has that little something extra.

Lately I encourage people to just be grateful and happy with what they’ve already made for themselves. I’m not saying don’t go for more. But take a look at what already is, what you’ve already made, and instead of criticizing your works, enjoy the fact that they exist at all. Sometimes a little less is a whole lot more; yeah, I really said that.

The domino effect. Or how one change can change everything else.

I think we’re all savvy about this concept. You line up the dominos, get them just how you want them, tip the one at the end and let it fall. It all comes down in the pattern you designed. A mesmerizing showcase of your talented ingenuity, a spectacle for the onlookers to enjoy. I’d like to say the same thing goes for writing, but I’d only be half right.

I rewrote a chapter in the upcoming PLIGHT book and the chapters that come afterwards keep referencing the old chapter. Palm to forehead smack. But here’s the thing; there’s an opportunity to make something that was merely “ok” as the chapters wind down to the very end of this segment of the entire story, to something much more hair-raising and nail-biting. I dare say, the domino effect of rewriting one crucial chapter can set it up for all the other chapters that follow to have a richness, depth, and maturity to them that was previously absent, or at least left wanting.

In our own lives I’d like to think we get these new chances to change the days and weeks, months and years ahead of us, if we are so fortunate to live that long. In one day think about how many times you write and rewrite what’s in your mind, your conscience, your own heart. How often do you take a step back and place the domino just so, with hopes that how things fall land not just in your favor, but in the favor of those around you whom you love and enjoy.

There’s something else about this whole ‘domino’ effect and how one slight (or mighty) change can really effect the outcome of events…it points to something that’s always been there. It’s our connection to one another, to life, to events and circumstances. We’re all lined up, even if we’re slightly askew. There’s a pattern somewhere in all the chaos of our falling down that we can’t or don’t see. And I doubt very seriously that’s a “serious” pattern, or that it was intended to be interpreted as such. Just that there’s a way in which we’re connected. We rise, or are risen (depending on your view of things) and that we fall (or are pushed, if you can but dig that idea better) and we all come together in that mesmerizing fall.

I like the stories I write because I’m setting things up at a subconscious level just like a set of dominos. I don’t always get the pieces right, meaning if I lay them just a little too far away they’ll fall all right, but no connection and no interesting razzle dazzle of the play. The sight of it becomes null, boring, or worse; downright disappointing. And I don’t want that for my readers. So, as close as I get to one thing, is as far away from something else as I can get. And on does the story go forward. I gotta get it just right, because flat is flat, disconnected is a bad story, and falling is fun only when you have somewhere to land that we can all agree makes sense.

I’ll be in touch my friends.

How can I get your book?

Strangely enough I get asked this a lot. I forget that many of the people I work with still think in terms of bookstores and grocery store book areas. Well, you won’t find anything I’ve written in any of those places. I always tell everyone, “You can get it on Amazon.” But hey, if you think Amazon is the devil, you can also purchase my books on Barnes and Nobel.com The only problem I have is, I still can’t get my books properly formatted to look right on Barnes and Nobel’s Nook Reader (a digital reader similar to Amazon’s Kindle). So mostly, my books are available on Amazon. I’m still working on a solution to get my e-stributions on more platforms like Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and anything else that will read a highly formatted book file. I format them all myself and I know how I want them to look. So if it doesn’t look right, or as in the case with BN’s Nook–it looks awful–I will wait to do it myself where it looks as close to perfect as possible. iBooks may become a viable option in a few years when I can get my hands on a new Macbook (one that’s not turning 6 in April of next year).

So how can you get my books besides my website and my blog? Well, Amazon is another website and frankly, it’s the only place you can get my books for now. Spread the word!

PLIGHT NEWS FLASH!

The 2nd book in the trilogy has finally caught the eye of my editor and she loves the recent work I did. Basically this amounted to me rewriting all of those lost chapters. I think in the end, the new chapters are far superior to the older ones. My editor thinks (keeping my fingers crossed this time) that the book should be done and available BEFORE CHRISTMAS! I know it seems too good to be true…but, there you have it. Everything must eventually be resolved, right? I’m very excited to keep you in the loop on it as soon as I know more, you’ll know more.

You and your dreams

Somehow I had a thought when I was young that if I just wrote a novel then I’d make it big. People would love what I wrote–whatever I wrote–and tell me they couldn’t wait for more. I’d be a millionaire in this fantasy and would have all the time in the world to dream up my stories. I was never told by my parents that I couldn’t do something, like be a famous writer. They had their opinions on how I went about the matter. But back then (over twenty years ago now, I shudder to think) there weren’t a lot of options. Vanity press was still expensive. Indie publishing wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye. Amazon wasn’t a gleam in Jeff Bezos’s eye either. And the world went along with traditional publishing.

In 2005 I decided to write my first book. It wasn’t a novel–and I really wanted to write a novel–because I thought to myself: well, even if I write this book about this stuff I know, maybe a regular less big publisher will pick it up and run with it. I was wrong. I had to find (using the Internet) how to self-publish. And I did. I wasn’t the only one. And it was still expensive, but my Mom helped me pay for it. She helped me get my foot in the door to my biggest dreams. I had the one book. And yes, even back then, it was available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com as well. It was highly emotional for me to hold that book in my hand for the first time. I was so proud of my accomplishment.

I remember when I first received the paperback in a few boxes (now I just had to figure out how to sell them to people, and back then I didn’t know very many) and flipped it over to the back. I looked in the upper left corner on the back side of that book and saw to my utter horror and dismay that it said: JUVENILE NON-FICTION. My heart sank.In just two words I felt my career as a writer had fairly ended before it had even begun. Though I was crestfallen by this snafu I called the company immediately and had them change it on any future printings. They did and said they were sorry for the inconvenience.

Can you imagine thinking you’re a writer and other people, in effect, telling you that you aren’t? Or that you’re a dancer, singer, pianist, artist, or some other creative type that you know you are…and people say, “Nope, that’s not what you do.”

It happens to us a lot. Other people’s perceptions of us are powerful, but they are not authoritative. I never gave up with that book, and to this day it’s still the one book I have that sells the most of all the other titles.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself or your career as “this is all you do, this is the only way the world can see you”, because the world has a lot of eyes that have never seen you. You can do whatever you want as long as your expectations about it are surrendered. You can be the most unknown monk in the world, and nobody will care but you and your monk friends. You can be the greatest baba that no one ever hears about. Be it anyway.

You can write books and blogs in an ocean of them that never really gets any notice. Write them anyway. This man and his dreams won’t die lightly. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and I know you will too. Right?

Under Pressure

My conscious and dedicated focus in life is primarily internal, and with that practice comes a great deal of retention. I’m not holding my breath, but my words. It’s funny I should say that because I’m a writer, and I’m putting out a lot of words in the form of stories and in the form of narrative (as in the case of my autobiography, and this blog). On some level it’s like I never shut up. But on the outer level where we meet? Tight as a clam-shell!

I’ve noticed that I’ve resorted to humor to help people remain lighthearted around me. I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch the news for more then ten seconds at any given time. And I specifically don’t own a television so I can stay away from the bulk of it. Every time I’ve flipped on a television somewhere (usually at work in the break room) and there’s news on, it’s ten seconds of absolutely horrific and catastrophic events, made worse by the fact that all of it is needless and lacking any real intelligence.

And though I might have much more to say on any given topic (and yes, I scan the news sites too, in case there’s something interesting or pertinent) I won’t. I’m not attempting to bottle anything up either, I’m just noticing without commentary or judgment the unfolding events of the world around me. Sometimes I feel that the more we blabber, the more power we lose. Both individually and collectively. I see this underscored when I watch the news or scroll through Facebook posting by all the 14 hundred plus friends I have.

Of course I can use some of the news that seeps in through my inner blockade and turn it into an entertainment of sorts by writing about it through the medium of fiction. But for the most part, on the outside life, I do a great deal of retaining what I know and or believe and letting others do the talking. In the meanwhile I am also working on feeling a sense of connection to a deeper aspect we all share, a Source, if you will, of infinite energy which supports and upholds everything visible and invisible to us.

I attempt to let the great and expanded feeling of that essential Source move through me and out into the world and especially the people around me.

When things seem decidedly too serious, I pop a squat. Oops, I mean a joke. Either way it gets someone to smile or laugh a little. And that lets the internal steam creep out and takes some of the pressure off the situation—no matter how benign that situation typically is in the first place.

When I receive news that feels rotten I take it deep inside. Not just so I can stuff it in the recesses of my psyche, or let it fester like open cabbage in the dark basement of my subconscious. I don’t do it like that. I take that news deep inside to that Source, the essence of what it is to be and drop it into a visual burning fire, the great Heart, until I feel like it’s burned. I then envision the smoke from that burnt news lifting into the air as refined blessings to shower on others. Kind of like the way the ocean and clouds work together to create rain over parched lands.

Now you may say you’ve never felt such blessings and that what I’m doing is a waste of time. But I’ll tell ya, in the end I not only feel better in my own being, but I can barely think of a better, more constructive use of my time. If more people did something like this my guess is we’d have a lot less unhappy people, and that would be blessing enough.

How to determine if you’re a real writer or not

I think the title of this post is just…arrogant sounding enough. It’s hopefully annoying enough to get some of you to read this. That’s the whole idea, anyway.

When you do your writing, assuming you think of yourself as a writer, there are some basic concepts that will help you out a great deal.

I’m putting out some lists that seem important for now to distinguish between real writers and wannabes who should truly pursue something different.

How you know you’re a real writer:

  • When it comes to the hard stuff, you’re not ashamed to get it out there. You’re ready to be ballsy and call things as you see them–whether or not anyone else agrees with you. Keep in mind there are 7 billion people on the planet, nobody knows you except your close friends and family and people you’ve met at work, and everyone has a fixed idea about who they think you are. So you gotta bust through all the bullshit and say what’s in your head and in your heart (somewhat of the same thing, as far as I’m concerned.)
  • You’ll write even at 5 am if it means you only squeeze out 230 words before you race off to your full-time day job.
  • You’ll write ever_single_day…no matter what.
  • And you won’t beat yourself up about it if you miss a day or a week. Because you are incapable of staying away from it for long.
  • You agree that you’re not really writing about writing–because that’s just boring. You’re getting out on the page that which matters to you, has value to you, and ultimately that speaks to you–and therefore a goodly amount of other people out there who haven’t discovered you yet.
  • You write to change your attitude, to explore, to be awed by something even if it’s only in your own imagination.
  • You know your writing isn’t always great and you’re okay with that. That’s why we depend on editors, to catch the holes in our stories–be they true or fiction, and to help us clean up the way we say stuff. Example: You need editors because how else people going to know you mean? And just by the by I hope to hell you’re beyond that level of writing, or you’re going to have to write someone else’s book word for word in a document on your machine for 10 thousand hours before you can even think you’re a real writer.
  • I hope you use the above example as a fictional character’s writing in one of your novels, or something like it–and if you do, know you’re a real writer.
  • You sit down and know that on some level writing is your meditation. It’s your way of connecting with the juicy powerful Flow, and to you it’s no different than the “runner’s high”.

How you know you’re not a for real writer.

  • You think you have something to say but give everything else much more importance than saying it. “Screw it, I’ll write later. Continuum  is on and I love that show!” Even though you recorded it on your DVR.
  • You decide to write a vampire or sex or romance novel because you think it will put you on the fast track to making a lot of money.
  • You write because you think any book will make you a lot of money.
  • You think other people will respect you more or take you more seriously if you have written and published a book. “Look ma, I’m on Amazon!
  • You think writing on Facebook and Twitter are acceptable forms of serious writing.

There are probably a lot more to the latter list, but I’m getting annoyed by it.

If you’re honest with yourself you’ll pretty quickly realize where you stand. My biggest beef with fellow authors is when they tell me they want to make money at this but aren’t making much from their current books. Build a big catalog of books. Enjoy the ride of writing something that has meaning to you. I’m not poo-pooing the idea of making money. In the age of digital ebook distribution by Amazon it’s certainly possible to make a living. Hell, some people have won the proverbial jack-pot of writing for a living. Some just write full time and make a comfortable living from it. Everything you need to know how to make it happen can be found for free on blog-sites like here and here. No need to read a book on that subject, although there are scores of them.

The bottom line is, if you’re reading this, you’re not writing anything. So get back to work. I’ll do the same!

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