2:45 am Tuesday and I’m wide awake. A storm is heading my way promising 18 inches of snow. Everyone in the house is sleeping and my brain is on overdrive, no I haven’t had any coffee…yet. I think the few brain cells I have left would melt if I did.
My current book Tombyards & Butterflies is doing fantastic in its first week of release, but that’s not what’s keeping me up. The second book is nagging the hell out of me. If you are creative you know exactly what I’m talking about. The idea that wont be quiet. The plot point that just wont stop. The character that whispers into your ears when you are driving, showering, doing the dishes or any other activity where a pen and paper( or phone) is out of reach, forcing you to stop and hurriedly get that idea down. And you do, because like a wisp of smoke, if you dont it vanishes and taunts you, remaining just at the fringe of conscious thought.
So I’m up and I haven’t blogged in a while because this latest book has demanded I write-hard and fast. It pushes me to write to the exclusion of everything else and so the blog, like a secret mistress, gets my visits in the dead of night when I can’t sleep. But the story,implacable, unrelenting, is there looking over my shoulder, pacing and tapping it’s foot. It gives me the stink eye and then floods my brain with ideas as if to say,”try writing that post now.”
I manage because I enjoy my blog and writing. My brain is always writing, always dealing with the alchemy of words, spoken and written. A part of me seriously believes that all creatives are slightly mad and unhinged-it’s what drives us and fuels our creative expressions. I can only speak to my experience. Writing a book is mad work. You sit down and have a conversation with the voices-in your head. You weave a story around that conversation and then invite others to jump into a world with you. Sure… totally sane.
Taking a blank page, canvas, or pick your medium, and transforming it into a book, a painting, a piece of music, a piece of you, is the ultimate form of creation. To bring forth something from nothing is the both the most empowering and frightening thing you can do and you must do it. To refuse the impulse is an act of abnegation and the fastest way to insanity.
In an effort to stave off my impending madness I am going to go wrestle with a story that just wont quit. I’ll see you on the other side.
I have been away from this blog for a few months due to my insane work and writing schedule. That has since calmed down a bit and so I will be posting regularly.
Its been an amazing few weeks. I had an incredible summer. I have also taken on training seriously. I realized that a healthy body facilitates a healthy mind which means I can write more.
That’s me doing a 500 lb dead-lift and making the only face possible when lifting that much-we call it a squat face lol.
I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the third book in the Sepia Blue series and it has been a blast to write. Book Two(cover above) will be released this month and the story is twisting in some unexpected and surprising ways. By the time you read this-Sepia Blue Sisters will be available. Grab a copy and let me know what you think.
I’ll be releasing some new content soon. I have a new kind of story rolling around in my head and I would like to bounce some ideas here, before I pursue them elsewhere. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. I truly hope you have had a pleasant and exciting summer.
So I have been away from the blog for a bit due to writing and most recently editing. In the midst of this i have released a short story which is the prequel to the next book. You can find this book on Amazon here.
This short went through a few changes. I had to add several chapters because if I didn’t I was threatened with bodily harm from my beta readers. I cant go into detail without spoiling it for you. Pick it up and let me know what you think.
The next few months are going to be full of activity. The next book is scheduled for early May I will have a cover reveal soon.
He would sacrifice all for love.
Roland James is an Arch Mystic and an expectant father. When the Enclave discovers his wife-Mei is pregnant, they demand he adhere to the rules and give up the baby for mandatory reprogramming and Enforcer training. When he refuses, the Enclave decides he is better off dead, along with his wife and unborn child. Now, together with Mei, they must evade the Enclave forces sent to kill them long enough for her to give birth. They must find a way to escape the Enclave or lose it all.
I enjoy hearing from you! Leave me a comment below or send me an email.
I made peace with that. Understand that this is MY OPINION and you are welcome to disagree with me. Hell you can even completely ignore this entire post. That is your prerogative. Still here? Good. Strap in and lets go. If this one raises your hackles or if you feel the need to illuminate me on the error of my ways…I direct you to the comment section below.
There is no such thing as writer’s block.
Barring depression and or anxiety which are real things and can stand in the way of your writing (and if you suffer from these I strongly urge you to seek medical help) the other reasons that writers come up with to attribute to writer’s block sound like so many excuses.
For every ‘reason’ out there that has stopped a writer, there are countless others who have had the same(or worse) setbacks and have continued to write. It’s time we let go of the crutches and get to walking on our own.
Take ownership of your writing. Stop ascribing near mythical properties to these challenges in your life.
Not enough time? Reevaluate how you spend yours.
Demanding Job? Do what needs to be done then get to writing.
Family responsibilities? Meet your responsibilities and then get to writing.
Death of a loved one? Grieve, grieve some more. Remember that you are still alive and choose life. Use your writing as a catharsis if you must, but get back to it.
Lost your desire? Remember why you started writing in the first place… and then start again.
Dont fall into this trap. Dont make excuses. Dont put it off.
Develop the discipline to see it through and FINISH WHAT YOU START.
I’ll leave you with a quote that sums this up for me.
“Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.”
― Robert McKee
I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I have been creating a persona. Back in 2012 when started writing professionally I had no clue what a persona or “brand” was. I just knew I wanted to write a book and I wanted to get it out into the world.
I have been swamped with edits and all of the other details that involve getting a book out in the world. At times this process is equal parts exhilarating and mind numbing. There are times when I question the sanity of what I have chosen to do with all these ideas and stories inside my head. Then I remember my daughter’s words.
A while back I asked her what she thought about writing. Not my writing specifically, just writing in general. She gave this question some serious thought. I could tell because she became quiet and sat next to me for a short while. Then she had her answer. “Words are art,” she proclaims as if it is a self evident truth that everyone knows. Of course I had no idea what she meant so I asked her. This is her explanation as close to verbatim as I can recall: Words are art because when you write you create pictures in your brain. These are not like the pictures you can draw with crayons or markers, but pictures in your head. That means that when you use words its just like art and that means that writers are artists.
So whenever I feel like this writing thing I’m doing is threatening to implode the few working brain cells I have left I remember these words uttered by my sage six year old. I am an artist and I am busy creating, Sometimes that creating is hard, but most of the time its an amazing ride. Words are art.
Yesterday my wife and I took the little ones to the Cloisters. I have to confess that even though I am a native new yorker, I have never been to the Cloisters, although I knew of its existence. Sitting atop Fort Tryon park the first impression you get when you approach the building is that of entering a castle( even though it is modeled after a monastery). Crossing the cobblestone driveway gives you the illusion of entering into another era. The fact that its tucked away in a park and surrounded by trees adds to this otherworldly feel. Continue reading Storming the castle→
How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember?
Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past—a gun, a sword, and a piece of paper with his name on it the only clues to his identity. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his magical abilities to become a successful thief for hire.
But those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet: when they cause a job to go bad and threaten a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her. With his enemies closing in and everyone he cares about now a target for their wrath, he must choose between the comfortable life he’s built for himself and his elusive past.
As the barrier holding his memories captive begins to crumble, Nate moves between modern-day London and fifteenth-century France, forced to confront his forgotten life in the hope of stopping an enemy he can’t remember.
On occasion I come across a writer I want to share with everyone I know. Steve is one such writer. His Hellequin Chronicles are an exciting read and well worth your time. He initially started as an indie and moved on to traditional. His stories are riveting and his main character is compelling. Can you tell I’m being deliberately cagey and vague? That’s because you need to go and buy this series. He is in book 4 and in the process of getting book 5 out, hopefully soon. You can find his amazon page here.
He also has fantastic covers. Being a graphic designer I cant help but appreciate a good cover and his have had and excellent evolution. Here is his latest :
Go visit his page and enjoy his books. You can thank me later!
Welcome to the Nascent Novel redux ( I enjoy that word so this was a perfect excuse to use it).
After a snafu with my previous hosting company I discovered that my last site, nascent novels is down. As in any situation involving two or more parties there were several different versions of what happened. Let me cut to the chase, they said an email was sent notifying me of the impending closure and I said no email was sent. End result? My site is down. The bad news? Many posts are now in limbo and missing and the site has lost continuity, which I am told in this day and age of short attention spans is the death knell for a blog.
The good news? I have all my posts backed up and will over time be restoring them to this site. This was also an opportunity to take the blog in a different direction.
Initially I had three active blogs. One on martial arts, one for writing, and one for my photos and daily life observations. When I shifted my attention to my writing blog I neglected the other two. Over time I realized that this was a mistake. I’m not only a writer or a martial artist or a person who enjoys photography. I, like each of you am an amalgam of many interests and pursuits. By trying to compartmentalize who I am, my blogging suffered. This site will address that. It is not strictly a “writing blog”. I will discuss those things which make me, me. Some of that will resonate with you and some will not. That’s okay. I’ll do me and you will do you.
Here you will find posts about writing, books I enjoy, movies and video games. You will also find posts about martial arts and martial philosophy, being a practicing martial artist for close to three decades makes it impossible to separate this aspect of myself from everything I do. It is a filter which shapes my life and actions. You will also see pictures of things I find interesting and my family. My family and fatherhood is the source, my source of strength and my greatest adventure. The good thing is that I have many large families. I have my immediate family, blood of my blood. I also have a large dojo family which is blended with my immediate family. This is a natural progression. My other family is the writer/reader family which grows and is growing by leaps and bounds daily.
So as you can see the aspects of me are diverse and complex and exciting. I do live a blessed life. If you go back into the history of this site you will find the old posts from the other sites now comprise the body of this site. That was intentional. Take a moment to go through them and read. I am certain you will discover something fascinating or something to disagree with me about. I enjoy and invite all kinds of discussion and interaction. Leave a comment and let’s talk.
So what have I been up to? Well I’m currently in the midst of edits for my third book in the Warrior of the Way series. I had the first book edited by my excellent editor, Lorelei, (if you are a writer and need an editor go here NOW) which required her to use extensive editorial kung fu to make into a coherent story. The end result is impressive. The second book, The Ascendants, is being soft launched and I haven’t given it much publicity. It is now available on Amazon, Smashwords, and Nookpress.
I also had the covers to several of my stories redone. Here they are:
These great covers were done by Derek Murphy. A few things about Derek. He is a talented and gifted cover artist. This means he is also in demand. If you want amazing covers by him be prepared to invest time and money. You can find his site here
I have been also speaking with writers, martial artists and fathers( moms too) about guest blogging here on this site. I look forward to the different voices that will be showcased here.
So why Creative Warriorship?
Throughout history warriors have always been known to be creative. I find that it is within the warrior nature to be creative. If I look at my own life and those of my fellow warriors I find this to be true. In the dojo alone we have writers, architects, graphic designers, painters, performance artists, dancers, calligraphers, musicians and singers among both the adults and the children. This is not an accident or coincidence. I truly believe that the warrior spirit is also a creative one. Creative warriorship to me is not a dichotomy or paradox. Rather it is the expression of warriorship in its full sense. A warrior knows that life is balance, light and dark.
It is my sincere intention to make this blog a weekly event. Whether with my own posts and observations or those of others. They wont all be this long, (although I cant guarantee that) but they will all be an expression of what I consider relevant and important to my life.
Leave a comment share your thoughts and say hello!
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of books on writing. As a writer, martial arts instructor, father of seven ( yes seven) I rarely have time to attend writing seminars. The last writing seminar I attended was two years ago held by the Open Center in New York City. It was a Right to Write seminar by Julia Cameron and it was excellent.
However as artists we must always seek to improve our craft. So I keep my skills sharp on my blogs and I am constantly in the middle of several books. Some are fiction ( pick up anything by Brandon Sanderson, my current read is the Mistborn series), some are on martial arts, and some are on writing.
I initially purchased this as an e-book for my kindle and then realized this was the kind of book that becomes a reference, a resource, so I purchased it as a paperback as well. If you are a writer, or an aspiring writer, this is a book you need to have in your author arsenal. This is the book that will help you polish your manuscript. It asks the right questions, the hard questions. It spurs you to action with the sole goal of making your book the best it can be. GET THIS BOOK. Read it, Write in it. Read it again. Do the exercises. Then go and thank James Bell.