Monday, October 22, 2012


So, Rick, what do you like to read?

A very good question. The answer is not so simple. First of all, I like to read what I write--a good hardboiled detective story. The Spenser books were always exciting to me, I like James M. Cain and Ed McBain was thrilling for me as well, especially his 87th precinct novels.

I've read all of Stephen King's early stuff, though not much of his later works. The Green Mile was an exception and I really enjoyed that.

As far as currently goes, I indulge myself in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series although I must admit that it a vast and daunting task. I read Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch novels and an occasional non fiction book that might range from politics to the economy and investing, to intelligence and military operations.

I find that the more I write, the more particular I'm getting about what I read. I used to finish every book I started, no matter how dreadful. I don't do that anymore; I'm getting too old to waste time on stuff that I don't like.

I've not read Fifty Shades of Gray, and right now I don't plan to. I've read the first chapter, enough to know that it's not the best written book ever (which I can understand, given it's her first novel) but the vast appeal of it has got not only me but a lot of writers scratching our heads. You just never know what will sell.

I enjoy the Gideon series by Eric Jerome Dickey, although there is a little too much sex in it for me. I don't consider myself a prude but sex is like anything else--it should add something to the story and Dickey overdoes it sometimes. His prose, however, is spot on and keeps me hooked.

I'm always looking for new writers and new books to try out so I'll try to let you know when something catches my fancy.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Forgetting the basics?

Just a reminder, gang, that WINTERTOME is available as an Ebook and that it's only 99 cents! The next part in the saga, WINTERWALL, is still in the writing phase but I am pleased to announce that I'm almost done! John Logan appears again in April with INTO THE MAGIC NIGHT, and I'm in the "creative phase" of his next adventure. Translation: I haven't written anything yet, I'm still trying to get the plot down. :)

Now that the selfless promotion stuff is out of the way, I want to talk to you about the basics. As you frequent readers of this blog will know, I have taken up golf. Why, I don't know, but as Steve McQueen said in The Magnificent Seven, it seemed like a good idea at the time. For a while there I was seeing some improvement in my swing. Hitting the ball with the irons has proven particular hard for me; nevertheless, I was seeing some good leaps forward in that department and I was beginning to feel pretty darn good about my ability to get better in this game.
    It fell apart on me three weeks ago, beginning with a disasterous outing to the driving range. That was followed by a horrible round with a friend, followed by an improved session on the range and a better round a few days later. Then things really fell apart. No matter what I tried or how much I practiced, it felt as though I have never picked up a golf club before.
    So today I went back to where it all began: at the public course where I was first introduced to the game and taught the basics. I attended a clinic given by one of my original instructors and he watched my horrible, mutilated swing. Guess what? I had forgotten the basics: basic stance and set up--that alone was enough to throw anyone's swing off. Now, I'd like to say that it's fixed and I'm back on my way. Truth is: I still have some work to do, drilling those basics back into my brain until I can hit the ball more consistently.

There is a point to my rambling. Sometimes in writing, as in golf, we tend to forget the basics. We spend a lot of time listening to other writers, seeing how they do it, then we spend countless amounts of time shifting through all of it to find out what works for us, then we forget it. We stop writing every day, we try to write in a different place, or we let the TV cut into our writing time.

Stop it.

As in golf (or any sport for that matter) you can't forget the basics:

  1. Write every day.
  2. Read every day.
  3. Make the time to do the above. Even if it means making some drastic changes in your daily schedule. TURN OFF THE TV!
  4. If you outline, make sure you're outlining. Follow the steps that you know work for you.
  5. If you gave up your writing spot, take it back or find another one. I'm still writing in the same spot I've always had. No reason to change it unless I get rich and move into a bigger house. Make that writing spot your own, no matter if it's a desk in the corner of your bedroom (like me). Remember Stephen King wrote his first two novels in a utility room with a typewriter balanced on his knees.
Get back to it! And good luck!