My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Case of the Missing Snowman UPDATE!

My new book "The Case of the Missing Snowman" is out with beta readers! As I wait for their feedback to roll in I'm creating more illustrations for the final version of the book. It will have a very different cover than what you see in the photos below. I just made that real quick with a template to get those books printed so I could hand them out to beta readers and get some feedback on my story. Once they've all gotten back to me and I've finalized the story I'm going to give it to a few people for editing, and then get all of the illustrations finished and put in the book. This is a short book but it will end up being one I have put a lot of loving work into with all of the illustrations. I posted the two I have done below as well. I'm so excited about it! Thanks for stopping by!

Click on the image to see at a larger size!

Jeffrey running to get on the bus! Click for larger size!

A hot bowl of chili!

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Writing Tools and Processes

This blog post originated as a comment in response to episode 2 of The Writing Crusade titled "How Do you Write?" It's a podcast by Indiana Jim. My comment answer was so long I figured I would stick it here too. So thanks Jim! My readers thank you as well. As always, thanks for stopping by!

I have developed a strange workflow for writing books over the years. When it comes to first drafts my favorite apps are the ones with very little UI. I love writing with no distraction. Just the words and I. I love writing in Notepad on a PC. Usually though I end up writing on my phone these days. Either with my thumbs or even better with my voice using speech to text. It's way faster than typing though I love the sound and feel of typing on a computer keyboard the most out of all writing methods.

So my first draft goes into an app called SimpleNote. It's free, and it is pretty much like Notepad but it auto saves to the cloud and I can access it in any web browser and of course on my phone. It has a beautifully barebones UI. I also really like writing first draft chapters on my phone in an app called Werdsmith. It also has a nice barebones UI and you can set your word count goal and as you write a tiny red bar slowly fills up at the top of your screen. When you hit your word count goal it turns green. It is really helpful to know where you're at in a quick visual way with word count as you're writing. If you see you're getting near the end of the chapter you know it's time to wrap it up.

I often start chapters not knowing how I'm going to write enough words with what I need to accomplish in the story only to end up going over my word count. So in this way, I'm a bit of a discovery writer inside each chapter, but I love having an outline showing me where to go. If I know what is going to take place before I write a chapter it comes out so much faster. I love the process of turning my paragraph into a chapter. I write with that outline paragraph or bullet points below my prose and as I flesh the story out for the first draft I delete the parts of the outline I've covered. When the chapter is done the outline text is gone. Sometimes though I find I have to put some of it in the next chapter or put some of the following chapter into the current one.

Once I finish a chapter I dump it into Google Docs and format it like an eBook. Then when I'm done I have all the chapters in the one Google Doc to give to Beta Readers.

I am a big outliner, so I start with that. Usually, I have a few paragraphs or even a sentence that explains the idea of the story. From there I plug my story into an outline of story points. Sometimes it's as simple as "what happens in each act of the story?" Usually, that's for short stories. For longer works I use the Save the Cat Beat Sheet combined with the Dan Wells 7 Point Story Structure. I fill in all my story beats - which usually takes me a week or two to figure out. From there I get a lined piece of paper. I figure out how long I think my story will be and then how long I want my chapters to be. That helps me know how many chapters I want the book to be. I try and write down a sentence or two for each chapter. I start by filling in the chapters that I already know the events of from my beat sheet. Like the move from Act I to Act II is at the 25% mark so depending on word count I know which chapter that part of the story goes into. The midpoint where my characters move from reaction to action ends up being halfway through the story so I find out which chapter that goes into and jot down a few lines for that. When I'm done I have a piece of paper with a very rough version of my entire story.

Here's an example: 
Click to 

I'm a little over halfway through writing the first draft of this book though I've been writing it for years :( It's the book I workshopped on The Roundtable Podcast and I really need to finish it!

I love being able to have a lot of the big plot points figured out before I write. It gives me a lot of confidence to know where I'm going while writing the first draft. From there I take each sentence or two that describes each chapter and I flesh it out into a paragraph or two. Once I have that I start writing. That said the first line or even scene of a story often just comes to me out of nowhere and I write it all down in one quick flurry. It doesn't always remain as the first scene but it usually is my jumping off point.

Also I always feel free to change my story and update my outline as I'm writing the first draft. I still have a lot to discover as I change a paragraph or two into a complete chapter. As I write the first draft I get new ideas and update my outline as needed. 

Wow that was a lot but anyway that's how I write!

Friday, September 2, 2016

6 Goals Episode 38

Hey guys. You might not know this but I do another podcast other than my podcast fiction and book reviews. It's called the 6 Goals Podcast. I only record an episode if I've gone for a run that week and I tell you how I've been doing on these 6 goals:

6 Goals to complete each week:

  1. Six miles run
  2. Six short work outs
  3. Six thousand words written
  4. Six chapters of the bible read
  5. Six water bottles consumed a day
  6. Six sketches drawn in my sketch book

Check out the show below, also found at it's native website here.

 download the .mp3

In this episode, I share four audio running journals that I recorded over the course of a month. It's been a while! I also share a bit about the chapter book I'm working on and how I've done with my goals.

The Website for this podcast:

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Indie Authors September 2016 Catalog

I joined a rad group of fellow authors called the Indie Authors Collective.

Here's what we are:
We are a group of authors who collaborate, promote, and provide an avenue for readers to find compelling new content. We have a diverse repertoire of works published and in progress for you to peruse. Furthermore we want to harbor an environment where authors and readers alike can engage each other in an effort to create artistic freedom and prosperity for published and unpublished authors alike. We hope you enjoy our work!
Click on the following link to check out our current Author's Catalog. It's a collection of some of our published works. Thanks for stopping by!