Now what?

That’s always the question making my brain feel as if it’s on fire. I’ve been keeping busy, just finished writing a rough draft for one screenplay and am editing two other screenplays. It shouldn’t take too long to proof all three, register them with the Writer’s Guild, and then begin the process of querying agents and film production companies.

I’ve also recently submitted three short stories for review, but I’ve written about that in a blog post, and I’ve sent queries out for the novella “The Month of April” and I’ve written about that too, but now what?

Having been down this road, I know this is somewhat of a waiting game now once the proofing is complete and the querying begins. That doesn’t mean I should take a break, even if over the last month I’ve written let’s see, 356 pages in total, four different and original stories, three scripts one novella, that’s a lot of words and a lot of pages. But I’m not done, even if I could take a break. What was it Stephen King said, something about talent is cheap as table salt?

The problem I’m having isn’t ideas, because that’s precisely why my brain is on fire as we speak, because it’s burning with ideas, several, and as soon as I focus on one, another story pushes the other out of the way and takes over my thoughts and then another and it goes on like this, until eventually one will take the lead for whatever reason and then it’s off to the races.

But I have to say, that as much as I love writing fiction, a part of me wants to write about current events and trending hashtags, because that’s where I started. Still a part of me has tired of writing about those things because even if you feel like something ought to be said, you realize as soon as you say it you find your email inundated with some who disagree and some who agree, but only partially agree, and then some who just seem angry but admit they didn’t actually read the entire story, just the fact they were compelled to stop what they were doing and skim through it made them angry enough to send me an email and inform me of this aggravation I caused them.

I’ll be the first to admit that I grew up reading Socrates and I love a good debate and playing the devil’s advocate, well I did, when I was younger, but now that I’m older, it doesn’t appeal to me as much. And there is good reason for that, because in the last five years, two situations have happened that I’ve been witness too, in which I realized that not all, let me clarify this, but at least one person I’ve met is completely bat shit crazy and personifies the definition of the word skulking, and the other antagonist in this story is perhaps one of the most duplicitous human beings I’ve ever met who unfortunately is in a position of authority (and I have emails and documents to prove this, as matter of fact on both the skulking psychopath and the inept duplicitous dip shit boss I worked for.)

But let me reiterate: in 45 years, I managed to go through life only reading about these specific types of just god-awful human beings, but only in the last five years actually met two, and I cannot help it if almost every single fiber of my being feels like I should include these two deluded individuals into my next story. And, not only that, but tell the story of the apathetic individuals who know what these two individuals are doing is wrong, and say nothing. I honestly don’t know which party is worse. The two antagonists, or the ones who believe that not taking a side, do not seem to understand the logic that by not taking a side, is in fact taking a side.

Where was I, so there’s that story, which I think should be told, but don’t know if I feel like crossing that bridge again and rethinking what was, when I have only just recently got the smell of the acrid smoke from those burning bridges from stinking up my house out and have began moving on.

Still, there are other stories, such as trending stories that intrigue me as well. But then again, I find myself saying, Chad, you’ve been there, you’ve done that, enjoy writing fiction, and if you can somehow incorporate these current trending stories and the aforementioned stories of the two pricks and the apathetic people who enable them, do that instead.

I mean, it’s doable, writer’s like Upton Sinclair, Ellison, Steinbeck, Hughes, Cullen, and this list could go on and on , they used their prose and poetry to bring about positive change and I’m sure they faced criticism for doing so.

Honestly, I don’t know what’s next, but it ought to be an adventure. And I hope along the way I can entertain, or smile, or perhaps even bring about positive change.

I hope everyone is doing well… Chad.

Oh, and last night after much thought on the subject I deleted my Facebook account and for some reason it felt like ending my relationship with those two nutbags I mentioned in this post.

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Today’s Been a Good Day

I was up at around 6am. I started my day as usual. Reread the three short stories I recently sent out for possible publication. Reread my novella The Month of April a story I’ve been sending query letters to publishers, and wrote 40 pages of a new script, 80 pages in total over the last couple of days. The 1st draft is complete and now I go to the editing and proofing stage and hopefully by the middle of next week will be able to register it with the WG.

I plan on submitting this script as well as another script I am also doing some small changes too by the 1st of May.

Also I am pretty confident in the next two projects I will be starting. One will be a script and the other a novel.

I would love to have both projects completed by the end of June.

So the reboot so far is going better than expected.

I hope everyone is doing well… Chad

Let the Reboot Begin

After doing some soul searching and speaking with my wife and mentors I have made the decision to seek traditional publishing versus pursuing self-publishing.

Although I love the convenience of self-publishing, something that wasn’t as easily attainable a few years ago, it does seem more practical of an approach to pursue the traditional route. It is a much longer process of course, but it’s a journey I have taken. I’ve been published and I’ve been rejected, but having started my career as a writer in journalism, I think rejection does make me better as a writer.

Again, I admire the authors who self-publish for whatever reasoning, and I will continue to support indie-authors, but for me personally, this is the route I’ve chosen.

With that said, however, I am happy in making this decision. In the last few days I have sent my manuscript to several publishers and have had two ask for the completed manuscript. So that’s a promising start.

It’s also given me a chance to submit three of my short stories for publication. I’m very excited to hear feedback from the editors.

I am also working on new projects, and am currently 40 pages in to a new script.

Lastly, I have just recently downloaded the Scrivener Software and I was skeptical at first, because I’ve always used either MS Word for my stories, and other software for script writing. And although I have much to learn on all the capabilities Scrivener has to offer, I am loving it’s format and the ability it gives me to begin drafting stories and putting them together and keeping them together. It not only works for script writing, but offers multiple template for writer’s to access.

So I have a lot on my to-do list, and much to accomplish and goals I’d like to obtain by the end of the year. I have several books I’d like to read also from indie-authors. So if you have noticed my stories have gone missing, it was a purposeful act and one I think was made for all the right reasons.

I hope all is well… Chad

The Challenge: Part 3

Yesterday, I was writing about how a painting inspired me to write the book: The Month of April. I mentioned how we never know how or when inspiration will strike, but be always ready. Within a few minutes of me posting that I walked outside for a few minutes and it occurred to me that I’d had two ideas, two separate stories, that what if I put them together and bam, like a bat to the head. There it was.

The challenge is well, this if I can pull this off will be something as a writer I’ve never attempted, and that is to create a fantasy/sci-fi/action/horror/historical/ and whatever other genre you want to throw in there and I haven’t figured out how to do it just yet.

I’ve even downloaded Scrivener and will try it out on a trial basis and if it works as good as it looks, will purchase the software. It may help me create this complex story and put it all together.

So that’s the big news. I’m about to start a major story, possibly even a series of stories, because it really is that “big” of a story. It’s an idea that has been in my mind for sometime, but never really knew how to put it together, and then like I said, it came together.

Again I go back into the rabbit hole. I’ve already warned my wife. She knows where to find me and how to lure me out. Sometimes…

Fingers crossed, as I take this next journey.

The Challenge: Part 2

When it comes to writing, it is a craft. In poetry, there is structure, and different styles, and the same for prose. Now there are different styles of poetry, and prose, and several genres of storytelling. But again, this conversation isn’t necessarily about the style one writes, or the genre one writes, it is about the craft of getting it right.

As I mentioned in my last post about Socrates and that wisdom is knowing you know nothing, you have to take this same approach when writing.

You’ve labored behind your desk, behind a computer tapping away, and 32000 words later, you have your first draft. You read it, you love it, done.

Not so fast. It rarely if ever is “done”. Often times when writing the first draft we use a lot of filler words, and do a lot of telling versus showing. It’s not something we do purposefully. It’s just, we know what we are saying or trying to say, and we are just attempting to get it written. We don’t even notice how many times we use the word “it”, or “that” or “knew” or “watched” or “heard” or “felt”. We don’t notice adverbs, or passive tense, and glance right over comma splices, and dialogue tags, and dangling modifiers and homonyms. I’ll give you an example, I wrote “it had been three 3 1/2 years since I’d been home” in a sentence, and for the life of me I overlooked the word three. Not even the editing software noticed or cared.

However, I also know the costs that come with hiring a “professional editor” and sometimes it’s a choice of buying groceries or finding an editor and we often go for the groceries. Many times, unless you have a great group of friends, or are in college and are in creative writing classes, finding Beta Readers can also be difficult, and if you are anti-social just asking someone is difficult.

Still, though, even if you don’t hire a professional editor or find beta readers, it’s not enough to utilize Microsoft Word software to detect misspelled words or point out sentence fragments, because what it does detect, is awesome, but nowhere near good enough.

I would suggest in saving the money and investing in an editing software program, and maybe even more than one. You can also utilize free sites, such as Hemingway Editor, or Grammarly, to assist you in finding errors, and sticky sentences, and I find them to be very reliable tools as a writer.

For me personally, I have invested in ProWritingAid, Grammarly, and Hemingway Editor and I will take the writing project to all three programs and search for any thing missing, mistakes, etc. Still, with all those fabulous tools working for me, there is nothing greater than a set of eyes. And if you don’t have an editor or a beta reader you have to fine tune yourself to looking for those mistakes, and you will find them (in most cases) even after the editing software assists you in fixing the basic common errors.

One suggestion is to print the story. Yeah, OK, you’ve written 300 pages, and you have a modest, cheap, “Sabre” printer (The Office reference) that may catch on fire if you attempt to print that much. But it really isn’t that expensive to have the book printed and even bound at Staples or Office Depot. This way you aren’t having to sit behind the desk. You can take a red pen and go through each page, taking your time, and highlighting your errors. Think of yourself as a college professor that has 50 essays to grade by 50 freshman and only 3 really gave a damn about impressing the professor with their words.

I will end with this though, don’t become robotic and allow the editing software to fix every thing. It doesn’t really care about style or things you interject as a writer, it isn’t programmed to understand that yes you did mean for a specific word to be there. It wants you to correct it and maybe you should. But trust your instincts also. You know what you are saying and trust that your readers will understand it also.

Trust me, I know the fun part is that first draft, but I encourage you to fall in love with the craft of writing. Fall in love with the editing process, because it will only make you a better writer at the end of the day. Honestly, it will.

The Challenge: Part One

Even as a kid it was always about challenging everything. From my parent’s rules, to school, to conformity, and yes it has gotten me in trouble, but it’s also been something that has made me think differently and approach difficult situations and in doing so helped me make positive changes in peoples lives, and find solutions through deductive reasoning. From helping solve cold cases, to speaking out against hatred and violence, to being able to assist many people in dire situations, find, help, hope or housing.

When it comes to writing, I seem to want to take on that same challenge and accept the same risk of being banished, or making a difference in someone’s life. Even my first visit to the local public library, there was the children’s books on the first floor, and then these huge, 400 page Hard Cover books with dust jackets, and I took Socrates over Curious George. Isn’t that the whole concept behind George is to be curious about what’s upstairs? So if you can pick up what George is putting down, you can bypass George and go straight to Socrates. And there you will find all your curiosities and questions put to the test.

And I loved it. I still do. I love a good old fashioned Socratic debate. Just ask my wife. Ask any person I’ve worked for or with. Ask an old friend, who I no longer talk to because we’re no longer friends because I really do love a good debate.

But even I know, and I can thank Socrates for this: the only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.

It’s funny how this statement annoys people. I know because I’ve used it in debate often, and I’ve watched people become visibly upset, thinking what Socrates meant by that, and what I mean by that when I quote Socrates is that I’m calling them stupid. When actually it’s quite the opposite.

To me its a challenge to open your mind. It’s about having intellectual curiosity and it means listening instead of talking, and not just hear what people are saying to you, but listen, watch, and give them your attention.

This is a debate for another time. Because the challenge I’m referring to is when it comes to writing. Since Socrates, there have been many books to challenge me, from religious texts to poetry, from Gatsby, to “Atlas Shrugged.”

These books always seemed to challenge me and the way I think, and the way I look at the world. One book would lead me to another, and so on and would in some respect shape me and my views and have as much of an impact on me as did “life” you know, “reality” the thing that exists outside of our imaginations, the place outside the rabbit hole, where most of all the things we write about we take from up top, and down into the hole and attempt to understand it through allegorical tales, and fables, and parables.

Most of the writing before 2018 has been under pen names, or whatever, because many of the things I wrote about were political, and controversial, and I would receive hate mail, and mail of support, and besides, I’ve always been a private person. I’m not sociable, and I don’t have a huge network of friends, no dinner parties, no game nights, just me and my wife.

I just recently wrote a book “The Month of April” and the main characters are female, lesbian, and I’m a 45 year old man, former Marine, and one may ask: what business do I have attempting to narrate a story as a 21 year old woman and a 19 year old woman?

But I can say assuredly, that the story just came to me. “Like a vision she danced on the front porch as the radio played.” As Springsteen once said. And that’s the truth. All my life I’ve been surrounded by strong powerful, inspiring women. Many of the political writings I had written involved the legalization of same-sex marriage.

I did consider using a pen name to write the story. But eventually said screw it, I wrote it and I’m proud of the story. It’s not overtly sexual, it’s a love story. To me that was the thing, it wasn’t about the identity, it was about love, and love is love, and I didn’t want to make a political statement or push my views on people, I truly did feel inspired by these character’s and most importantly the love they have for each other.

Where was I? This goes beyond writing, it also goes to the challenge of the style of writing. I prefer writing as did one of my favorite short story authors, Raymond Carver “with brevity and intensity.” I love so many styles of writing, but I love the idea of writing a story without as much narration from the author and allowing the reader to take in the story, and read between the lines so to speak, and ask, is the narrator lying, or being honest. If I’m writing as a specific character, the character may not choose to be honest, and in this particular book I use other character’s to challenge the narrator, instead of me as the writer making it my responsibility to do so.

Hemingway once wrote: “If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.”

In “The Month of April” that is the approach I took while writing the story. The “Thumping,” of music that leads Dani to leave her hotel room. Was it the music, or was it something else motivating her, that she did not proclaim loudly, but it can be deduced that there was more to it than just the music making her unable to sleep. Later, she will be challenged to justify her actions, and that’s the beauty of show versus tell, or allowing the reader to take from the story and realize that it really is about listening to the story, and if I’ve done my job correctly, you will find there is so much more going on and so much depth to the characters, that the reader can establish without me taking them below the surface and pointing out what lies underneath the tip of the iceberg.

According to legend, when the great director Steven Spielberg was approached by the great producer Quincy Jones to direct “The Color Purple”, Spielberg was reluctant direct. Jones purportedly changed Spielberg’s mind by saying you don’t know alien’s either, but you were able to tell that story.

I love that. Whether it’s a true story or not, I don’t know, but I love the rationale behind it.

When writing, I love these challenges, to take on a subject or a character, and if so inspired, to write their story.

So with all that said, I’m going to end this post here.

In Part 2, I will discuss the challenge of not only getting the story written, but the equally important part of getting it right when there is no one standing behind you barking orders or giving you a deadline.

The Girl in the Painting

In my new novella “The Month of April” I dedicate this story to The city of New Orleans, but also to “the girl in the painting.”

This is the painting. It is a beautiful watercolor painted by the late great artist Steve Hanks called “The Streets of New Orleans.”

I fell in love with this city back in the early ’90’s the first time I visited and have been back several times since.

As an art collector, and collector of music memorabilia, collector of books, (Many I have given away to mentors over the years) I was visiting one of my friends who owns an art gallery. I was browsing through many of the paintings he had in his show room and found this painting and fell in love and had to have it.

After my friend created a custom frame for it, I hung it over my desk for many years. It is a limited edition print signed by the artist himself.

However, the girl walking away in the painting, she became my muse for the story The Month of April.

I would often times be writing at my desk or editing papers for students and when I stopped and leaned back in my chair I’d stare at the painting often times wishing I were in the French Quarter listening to the band playing in the painting, but I wondered who she was mostly.

She seems to sashay as she walks, as if she were walking to the rhythm of the song. It struck me as odd because she is wearing a heavy black or blue overcoat.

As a writer, she intrigued me. So I created this story “The Month of April” for her.

I still own the painting, although it’s no longer hanging over my desk as I type this. We have been doing some renovations on the inside of the house so most of our paintings are stored away. But one day it will be back on the wall.

But this is the amazing thing about writing, is that you never know how you’ll be inspired or what will inspire you. It could be something personal, something you have lived, and or struggled with, or it could be fantasy, role-playing if you will, or in a galaxy somewhere far away. Having read so many books in my lifetime, and now, having a chance to read so many independent authors, I love the human imagination so much. I didn’t know when I purchased this painting almost 20 years ago, it would inspire me to write a complete novella about the girl in the painting. But I wanted to share this with you, and encourage to always be on the lookout for something inspiring, because it can happen by looking at a painting, or listening to a song, or even in our dreams.

Still, I am so happy to have written this beautiful story and I hope you love it too. You can find it on Amazon.com or find it through the link in my menu at the top of this page.

So from a love of New Orleans, to my love of art, to my love of writing, “The Month of April” came to life just like the late great artist Steve Hanks brought this wonderful and beautiful city to life in this amazing painting “The Streets of New Orleans.”

Short Stories or Novel or Screenplay or….

After having just published several short stories and poems in “Fool-Hearted” and released my novella “The Month of April” on April 1st, I really have no clue on what to work on next.

I have several ideas, of course. But one seems to keep fighting against the other. I do have a novel I could be working on that is 250 pages in, but from the time I started writing it to now, I’ve reworked the story in my head. So that means pretty much scrapping 90% of the story. That does not sound fun.

I have a few screenplays I’ve written already copyrighted with the Writer’s Guild, but I haven’t pushed trying to sell them. In fact, The Month of April started out as being a screenplay but later, like the aforementioned novel, changed it and turned into what I believe is a really beautiful love story.

Then, I have several short stories that either need to be edited, or finished. A couple of short stories I actually have considered turning into full length novels, or perhaps writing a script.

In the meantime, while I contemplate what’s next, I’m going to attempt to market “The Month of April” and see how well it performs. It’s not been to bad. Yesterday it was ranked around 130 in Lesbian Romance. So that’s cool. I’ve even considered if it does well to expand upon the story. Still, though I know a few people have read it I have yet to have any feedback or reviews, so that’s a little disappointing. It is a marathon not a sprint I keep telling myself. I’m also attempting to market the short stories and poetry in “Fool-Hearted.”

I’m trying different marketing strategies and at the end of the month of April, I will write and tell you my experiences and let you know if they worked and are worth utilizing for your own self-publishing venture.

I also keep reading about this software program called Scrivener, it looks interesting. Still though, I’m not sure if I need it. I would love to try it out though, maybe it will be useful especially with my scattered brain way of thinking.

Day 2 of #indieApril

So it’s day two, I just finished a loving story “Scout’s Honor”
written by author Dori Ann Dupré. You can find the copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6PF4GK

This is a beautiful and I believe a story people can relate too. I won’t give any spoilers, but while reading, the author is unafraid to allow the characters to speak for themselves so you see the story from several perspectives and not just Scout’s. A lot of time went into writing this story that spans several years, and I know from my own life that many characters remind me of people I have met and even my own faults and regrets I have had over the past 45 years from teenage romances to having to put aside things I dreamed of doing to take care of other responsibilities and one day looking back and realizing that through some of the heartbreak and hardships I can look back and smile and perhaps even accept it was fate that led me down the road I traveled and not live life tormented by regret.

I also finished

If A Monkey… Kindle Edition
by Norman Robert Langford (Author), Aurora Kruk (Illustrator) a Children’s book. Unfortunately, my kids are all grown, but I would have read this story to them. It is cute, with great art work, and I think many children will enjoy this story as will parents enjoy reading it to them.

You can find this story here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MF34TDR

I have added so many stories by so many amazing independent authors and I plan on reading as many as I can while I contemplate what my next writing project will be. So please keep sending stories.

Next on my list is the book “Crossed” Kindle Edition
by Ivy Raye (Author) you can find this book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q46LCV3

Keep writing, and don’t let anything stand in your way of your dreams.

Much respect and love always: Chad

#IndieApril: Support Independent Authors

Last night to kick off #indieapril, I asked independent authors to send me links to their books because I would like to not only support these amazing self-published authors, but I want to read their works. This morning I woke up with over 70 books posted by writers, and I’m so excited to start reading. As a matter of fact, I posted later that I may even attempt to read 10 books in 10 days.

So please keep sending links to your books. I’ve already viewed each and every single author and followed your author pages (if I didn’t follow your page it’s because I didn’t see the link) and I’ve already downloaded ten books, but that doesn’t mean I will stop with just the ten.

Just the other day I read a book of poems by Beverly Maier titled: Detaching Roots: Poetry and Prose, and found it to be so many inspiring, thought provoking poetry, heart rending, and courageous even. You can purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Detaching-Roots-Poetry-Beverly-Maier-ebook/dp/B07NKSRH4V

I promise you I will be reading your books, and posting reviews, and I will try and read as many of them as I can.

Much respect and love to all of you…..Chad