One week or so from now I will be at When Words Collide 2017. A tremendous opportunity for me to learn more about the craft of writing, to get inspired about my writing and lastly, face the music. (A little melodrama never hurt anyone)


You may wonder what ‘face the music’ means. This past year one of the writing groups I participate in committed to submitting to the editors, publishers and other authors offering free critiquing sessions. These people do this with little or no chance of gaining from the sessions. It’s part of what makes this conference great, people giving of their time and expertise. Like a fool, I thought, sign me up. To that end I requested three slots at the conference to give an editor samples of my work and receive feedback. I have no aspirations other than to learn from people on how to improve my writing.  Depending on the slot(s) I will be submitting different pieces. Having requested the waiting is underway.  And winner winner, chicken dinner – three slots!

Anticipating a busy three days, I am trying to prepare better for the grind of the conference. What does that mean? For me it means healthy snacks, regular meals and letting myself enjoy the conference. I will try and not worry if I am at the “BEST SESSION”, but rather enjoy where I am. If it is horrible, I will not worry if I offend anyone and get up and leave. More than ever this year I want to seek the opinion of others. What sessions did they enjoy?

One session I have put my name in for is a 50 minute sit down with Guy Gavriel Kay. There are 12 spots to be determined by a draw. The exquisite beauty and personal pain he can give to a reader through his characters is magical.  Hence the excitement. What does one ask of a literary hero?

Until then



Be well…dcd




DSC_2696Well I am sad to report that I have made some progress on Assassin From Earth.

My short term goal is/has been to complete a preliminary outline and then spend some hard earned money and have a Professional look at what has been done.

Being published is not a goal, completing is the goal.

So I am going to engage a writing coach for some brutal evaluation. Well, hopefully not brutal.  The problem that I have found with critiques is that friends are almost always too kind, or don’t have the expertise. People who have the expertise and work for free… you get what you pay for. There are some rare examples that I have found of people with expertise, and who are friends.

The best analogy that I can come up with is getting a massage, no not that kind of massage. I want a deep tissue massage and I am only able to get that from a professional. I have friends that do massage therapy, they will on occasion give out a free massage. But it is rare, it is their livelihood. Besides who wants to work on their time off?

That  chain of thinking lead me to seeking a professional. This is progress, I realized after I booked the appointment. Progress in that I have completed enough work to get an evaluation. It was a surprise to me that I have gotten that far. The progress has not been by long sessions of brilliance (trust me, this is not brilliant work), but by short sessions of just working through the process. What has been great, is seeing how the ideas transform in front of my eyes. Problems that didn’t seem solvable, resolving. Vague, misty characters all of sudden, clear, sharp – alive.

Very, Very, Interesting to look back and see the transformation.

But progress is more that checking off items on a list, the more important part of this bit of progress is that I think it will be possible to finish the novel. I had doubts if I could finish, but I now I see it possible to complete. As with all endeavors, regular commitment to the process yields results.

Progress has also brought another interesting side effect, happiness. Even typing the word happiness seems odd, old fashioned, cliched. But that is the honest fact. I am attributing this to the “Honeymoon Effect” of a new hobby.   I think though there is relationship between the micro rewards that gamers receive when playing games and completing parts of the novel process.

Checking items off a list is good for you. Just like completing the quests in video games, or the level in Facebook games. That little zap of happiness, of feeling good. Completing a job.

In today’s modern age we get very little of the completing of a job, even less do we get the “job well done” which is very important to our self worth. To make progress in writing is rewarding, and identifying that small micro rewards are good for your health, your mental health; that would make writing a prescription for health. The corollary is: you can be the medicine for someone you work with, tell them that they do a good job. Most of them do.

Remember, that we all need to make progress.

As Always – be well