Category Archives: On Writing


Today, while looking for markets to submit a couple stories to, I saw that two markets I had submitted to for years are now expecting writers to pay fees when they submit stories. I’m a firm believer that the money should always flow to the writer, not the other way around. I will not pay to play.

It’s hard enough making a buck doing this, why should writers have to pay for editors to consider their work? Whenever I come across a market that charges reading fees, I’m tempted to chew them out over it.

Never pay reading fees. They’re rip offs.

Clean Ups

Yesterday, I finished cleaning up an old 9,000-word story of mine. It was slow going through that thing, because every paragraph was a disaster that needed fixing. It was not well written at all. This wasn’t the rough draft, either. Though I haven’t touched the story in years, I had gone over it many times, and it was still awful. I can’t believe I ever submitted that story for publication in the state it was in.

Today, I’m going over a new 18,000-word story, that is a rough draft. I finished writing it months ago, but haven’t had a chance to clean it up yet. Getting through this story is much easier. There are things I need to fix here and there, but not much., and I like the way it rolls.

Some Kind of Normal

It’s been hard for me to stay focused since COVID-19 started. I just haven’t been able to get the thing off my mind. Some people think it’s because I’m very worried about the virus and they’ve told me, “Don’t worry about it.”

I hate hearing that. All too often when I talk about something, anything at all, someone tells me “Don’t worry about it.” It makes me feel like I’m being shut down and my thoughts about whatever topic shouldn’t be shared.

The reason I haven’t been able to get COVID-19 off my mind is not so much that I’m worried about it, it’s more like I’m obsessed with the topic. I keep reading about it and getting into discussions about it. COVID-19 is crazy, it’s big, it’s real and it’s happening. For me, at least, it’s hard not to get caught up in the insanity of this thing.

I’d been trying to pull myself away from the topic and get my ass back on the train. Today, I succeeded. The only reason I’m blogging right now is I made it to “blog” on my daily planner.. Each day, I go down a checklist of shit I gotta do. Blogging is one of the tasks on that checklist.

I got a crapload of other stuff done today too and the day ain’t done yet. I got work into a novel, I got work into a short story, I made three submissions, I did some chores, I read four chapters of the Bible (It’s just what I’m reading right now. I’m not particularly religious.), I got in my morning workout and my evening workout (I beat the heavy bag in the morning and the speedbag in the evening.) and a few other things.

After I blog, I have a few more things to do before I call it a night. I hope tomorrow is as productive.


I’m 80,000 words (396 pages) into Book II of my epic fantasy series. Sir Jose and Sergeant Ritter are fighting at the moment and I don’t know which of them is going to die.

Lord, Have Mercy

Today was productive. I finished editing a novella and submitted it. I wrote ten new pages into the novel. The novel is now 351 pages and 71,595 words. I have three more chapters for Part Two to write, but then I’ll have a whole third part to write and that’ll be another fifteen to twenty chapters before I’m done with this draft.

I also read three chapters of the Bible today. I just finished Judges. Tomorrow I’ll start on Ruth. There is still a lot in the Bible that bothers me. I just finished a chapter where a man throws his woman out to the mob so they can rape her all night long. When the woman dies on the doorstep, the man wants revenge on the men who raped her, and God is on his side.

I’m still hoping the New Testament will turn all this craziness around like some people have been telling me. But I cannot believe that so many Christians preach portions of the Old Testament. So far, the Old Testament promotes genocide, slavery, rape, kidnapping and forced marriage, and a number of other things that make me very angry.

Yes, there are some things in there that make sense to me and sound good, but a lot of it is disturbing.

That Book

Every once in a while, Michael Knost posts a question on Facebook about books that we’ve read. For example, his latest question about books was “What was your first book that made an impact on you as a reader?”

I’m often among those who responds. I love books and I appreciate the invitation to share about the books I’ve read. Though, to several different questions that Mike had posted over the years, my answer was “The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton.”

This copy here is the exact same copy that I read when I was 12 or 13. I kept it all these years. It was just lying around the house when I was a kid. I believe it came in a box of used books that our aunt Charlotte gave us.

There is no book that I love more than The Outsiders. I relate to Ponyboy in a lot of ways. This is also the only book that I’ve read more than a few times. I read it several times when I was a teenager, and I read it a few more times when I was in my twenties. I plan to read it again. It’s on my to-read list, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

The Outsiders influenced my writing. I feel it every time I’m writing a story. The emotions that I try to bring out of my characters and hopefully my readers. I’m always trying to write something that will shatter even the toughest of my readers. But I’ll probably never pull it off the way S.E. Hinton did.

Well, today was productive. I wrote ten new pages into the novel and I edited 10 pages of a short story.

I’m sad that Mike Resnick died. He once explained to me how he was able to write around 15,000 words a day, finishing novels in a few days. Resnick was one of the writers who inspired me to just bang down one story after another.