First of all, thank you to everyone for their kind comments and reviews for THE SHELTERING TREE. I really do think I have the best fans in the world and I really appreciate your support. The internet is full of things you could spend your hard earned money on and I'm honored that you've trusted me to spend it on my books.

If you follow me very much, you know that I recently took up golf. After more than four months into this journey I can say with certainty that I ALMOST have a swing and soon, I (with the help of my instructor of course) will start working on actually hitting the ball. It is a challenging, frustrating, and complex game but the act of learning it has also shown me the parallels between it and the art of learning to write.

Writing is a lot like golf: it takes time. There are few writers out there who just sat down one day and wrote a masterpiece right out of the chute. Most successful writers have dribbled out a lot of bad prose from the ends of their pens and those few who have done it successfully, seem to quickly fade off the radar.

As I must master a golf swing in order to properly play the game, so you must master the art of putting ideas down on paper. You must learn the rules of grammar, plot, pacing. You must read books on writing and learn from those who have something to say.

As I must take the golf swing and make it my own, so must you make the rules of writing bend to your own whims. Face it, good authors have broken some of the formerly thought sacred tenants of the craft and pushed the boundaries of grammar (use of the fragment comes to mind). I do it and I'm not alone. Patterson does it as well along with many others. For every publisher who says "fantasy isn't selling" or "thrillers aren't selling" or even "you need an agent to publish" there are writers who broke those statements. For the record, I don't have an agent and right now, don't feel like I need one. If that time comes, I'm sure I can get one. Only a few years ago the only people who self published were those who couldn't get a publishing deal and spent vast sums via vanity presses to get their stuff out there. Now, anyone can self publish with little cost and fluff.

So while I'm working on my back swing, learn your craft. Read a lot and write a lot. Write every day, read every day, and never stop. Never stop trying to improve your craft. I wish you patience and perserverance, my friend. It is so worth the effort.

Meanwhile, I'll be doing my thing. Writing, reading, and working on this friggin' swing. Whew!  RN


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