Simplistic 2015 Goals

A few months into 2014, I realized I had WAY too many goals. I won’t embarass myself by listing how many, but quickly into the new year I decided to simplify my goals. I may have still done a dreadful job of completing very many of them, I still published three ebooks, got my website Mark S. R. up and running, paid off our car (we have no car loans whatsoever!), signed up for the Goodreads Author Program, and submitted at least twice to the Writers Of The Future contest.

My three published works this year were:

Killzone: Book 1 of the Shadowkill Trilogy

The Things They Collected (free short story)

If Walls Could Talk: A Terrifying Short Story Collection

I am also not exclusive with any online publishing platform. My ebooks are found everywhere–and right now, Guest Of Honor, my free novelette, is selling like crazy on the iBooks store.

2014 has been good to me.

And I believe 2015 will be even better. I have also simplified my goals even more. For starters, I have two focuses: publishing and weight loss.

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Getting ready for 2015

2014 is fast approaching the memory banks. 2015 is looking to be a good year.

I hope.

No, I know it will.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve narrowed down my list of goals to accomplish. They involve two things: publishing and weight loss.

For publishing, Straight Razor is past the 42,000 word mark (out of an estimated 70K). I also have two more nonfiction ebooks in the wings, in the Mr. Shoestring series, I’m planning. Those two are still in the infancy stage and I probably won’t talk about it until they’re ready.

I’m also planning on using some of indie author Nick Stephenson’s advice in how to increase the number of e-mail subscribers. It involves offering a free short ebook to those who subscribe. Don’t worry, I won’t forget the early adopters and will make sure you get a copy of it as well.

What are your 2015 goals looking like?


Missing scenes / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-Nov-2014

A few weeks ago, I got to the halfway point in Straight Razor, the second novel in the Central Division Series franchise. When I later examined my current word count at that point, I was around the 25,000 word mark.

And the goal for this book was between 70-75,000.

Not quite halfway, in my book–and I was fairly good in math, in my late high school years.

I then realized I introduced a lot of leads (AKA red herrings) that would lead the investigative team of Simon Templeton and Kolin Raynes, of the Minneapolis PD Violent Crime Unit (VCU), but forgot to add them into the story.

*insert head slap*

My progress has slowed some, as I examined what should be written in and where. I truly believe the story will be stronger because of it.

And a hell of a lot more interesting.

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Stay out of debt / Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Oct-2014

There are tons of writing advice out there:

Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Write everyday.

Think of your writing as a business.

And so on . . . and so forth . . .

Now, all of this is fine, great, and dandy. However, I am going in a different direction when it comes to writing, especially when you’re thinking of self-publishing (indie publishing). Here it is:

Stay out of debt
When I examine what I’d love my publishing empire to look like, one major factor hinders it. Debt. The dreaded d-word. Debt has hindered much of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve had to do everything on a shoestring budget. From covers to editing and everything in between, our major debt load has handcuffed me.
But has it stopped me? No. I just keep trucking, working a full-time job and diligently working at reducing our debt.
So, although the sit-butt-in-chair-and-write-everyday writing advice is worthy noting, one very few talk about is debt.
Stay out of debt.

Do not try this (with your writing) / Happenings In The Outhouse 19-Sept-2014

Let me warn you. Do not try this with your writing, unless you are prepared and see no other way. Well, first of all, if you see no other way, you haven’t thought enough about the problem. I have. I am experimenting with something.

Industry experts (i.e. successful authors) warn newbies (i.e. unpublished writers or newly-published authors) not to do this.

But I’m going to give it a shot.

Wish me luck.

I have realized lately that I spend an awful lot of time editing. Editing and not writing more new material. This is not good. Especially when I have so many stories to tell.

Here’s my experiment: I will be writing new material in the mornings, when I typically work best, and during the way (at the day job) I will be editing. Right now, I am several chapters into the new novel, so I’m not editing the pages I just wrote. One day soon I hope to be.

That’s what the experts say not to do.

But I’m going to do it. I’ll make a good run at it. I’ll keep you in the loop as to how it’s working.

I am currently around the 14,000 word mark of the new novel, book two of the Central Division Series. I also concluded an e-mail interview with a gentleman who has a website/blog where he features other authors. My interview will be up soon, and I’ll share the link with everyone when it goes live.

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8 Ways To Get Into The Mood (To Write)

Artists, especially writers, talk about “finding the muse” which means finding the inspiration or motivation to create something from nothing.

Someone recently told me they were having troubles starting their daily writing, like for the first 10 minutes or so. They wanted some advice. Now, I gave it to them, and I want to expand on that notion here.

Here is a list of things you can do to help get the juices flowing:

1) just write – even if it’s crap, sitting down to write anything is better than nothing

2) go for a walk

3) go for a drive

4) read the last few pages you had written the previous day, to get a feel for where the story is going

5) drink a cup of coffee (or tea)

6) meditate

7) take a cold shower

8) exercise

This list is by no means complete–lists typically never are. This is just what I could come up with off the top of my head.

Feel free to comment on how you get the creative juice flowing.

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Happenings In The Outhouse 12-Sept-2014 / Getting children to read ebooks

A few nights ago, I asked my youngest daughter (she’s eight), “Have you ever read a book on the Kindle?”

She looked up at me and shook her head.

Now, she plays games and watches Netflix on the Kindle all the time. So why not read ebooks? We have a number of children’s ebooks from Bookbub, so I opened one up for her.

It didn’t take long before she read an entire ebook. She had some troubles swiping to turn the pages, but once she was halfway through the ebook, she was turning it with a bit more finesse.

Children can read ebooks. We just have to open up the world for them and let them give it a shot.

I’m currently at the 10,000 word count on the next novel in the Central Division Series. Straight Razor is coming along nicely, even after a brief hiatus to publish Killzone and my short story collection If Walls Could Talk. I’m shooting for publication by the end of the year–a bold, ambitious move, but one I have to make nonetheless.

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“If Walls Could Talk” is currently up for pre-order

On September 15th, my new short story collection If Walls Could Talk: A Terrifying Short Story Collection, will be published.

And right now it is available for pre-order.

Here is a link to the book page on my website, which has links to where it’s available.

What it’s about: “An epidemic in the Minnesota northwoods breeds an unspeakable horror. A golfer’s nasty slice uncovers the mysteries surrounding a childhood terror. A mother, fed up with an abusive, controlling marriage, gives her child the one gift she’s been asking for—and frees herself in the process.

From the barren Mars landscape to the northwoods of America. Seven terrifying tales. One collection.”

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