Protected: The Snail Rodeo – Barrel Racing

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Posted in Fiction, Musings Stuff, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Stuff, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , ,

You read right – the snail rodeo

A year ago this week I was attending Viable Paradise XIX. In fact, on this very day, the Wednesday of that week a year ago, I posted the assignment that was due on Thursday. At the time I did not know it was intended to be submitted for publication. Because I did not know, I wrote a humor piece and posted it HERE, blowing my First North America Serial Rights and making it a long shot that anyone will pick it up and publish it. 



Well, some of the Vipers wanted to relive the experience. 

So, they asked Uncle Jim to provide a prompt. His answer? The Snail Rodeo. So, we are supposed to write a story incorporating a snail rodeo. The stories will be judged and the winner will win . . . satisfaction. 

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Posted in Fiction, Musings Stuff, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Stuff, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sunday with my thoughts – but only a few

Uncharacteristically, this will be relatively short. Maybe. Oh, look, a photo.


 As I mentioned before, photos appearing on Sunday with my thoughts  are gathered and presented in THIS SmugMug Gallery. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can also click on the photos for a larger version.

So, what’s on my mind? Well, mostly writing. And food. I always think about food. But, mostly, writing. Specifically, come November 1, the daunting task of setting myself back on the writing track. 

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Posted in Musings Stuff, Opinion, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

NaNoWriMo 2016 – here we go again

The middle of October. Around this time, people are making their plans to partake in the NaNoWriMo 2016. Some are making outlines. Some are roughing out characters. Some are doing research. Some are forming writing groups, support groups, challenge groups, and FSM knows what other groups. Some officially join, committing to the effort of writing at least 50,000 words during the month of November. 


IF I decide to partake, this will be my fourth effort. I’m currently two-for-three, meaning I successfully met the 50,000 words minimum for two of the past three years. 

Mind you, I did finish all three novels, but the first year, 2013, I failed to finish NaNoWriMo. I had a good excuse . . . a Florida vacation, with a visit to Disney and everything. That novel was eventually finished in June of 2014. Should anyone want to read the raw novel as written, it’s HERE. Yup, it’s password-protected because I’ll eventually clean it up and try to sell it. If you are a new reader to this blog, don’t know any better, and want to read the novel, leave a comment below and I’ll shoot you an e-mail with the password.  


I easily made the 50,000 words goal for the Second NaNoWriMo, but the novel itself was not finished until January of 2015 because we took a cruise in December and then the holidays and stuff got in the way. Should anyone want to read the raw novel as written, it’s HERE. Yup, it’s also password-protected because I’m trying to sell it. A few chapters from that novel were included with my Viable Paradise application. After many editing passes and some rewriting, I’m using that novel as my as-yet unsuccessful attempt to find an agent. 


Last year’s effort also had me reach the 50,000 words goal by the end of November. I made what I thought was a clever joke about it, and some people took it seriously. I guess it was not all that clever after all. 

That novel was a thriller with mostly female protagonists (Gin is a bad-ass) and I finished it in February of 2016 and presented it in yet another password-protected post HERE. That’s the novel I’m currently editing and will eventually shop around in the non-SF markets.  

20160923_dsc9494_1_dxo-processed-3-processed_digiNow, it should be noted that — despite the name — I don’t have to write a novel for NaNoWriMo 2016. I could, for instance, write a number of short stories whose combined word count is 50,000 or more words.

In fact, if I NaNoWriMo, that’s what I’m likely to do. As I explained in a recent post, I ain’t got no village helping me raise my novel from obscurity to having someone publish it. The plan, as described in that post, is to sell a number of short stories and leveraging those publishing successes into snagging an agent. Not just an agent, but a good agent. One reads horror stories about crappy agents. I don’t want to be a part of one of those stories. 


Some might have noticed that I am a bit out of practice when it comes to writing. Beginning in April of this year, my focus shifted from everything else to moving from Colorado to Hawaii. That was accomplished in June, but only insofar as we are physically here. We are still somewhat in limbo as we look for a place where we might settle and get back to living a normal life. 

I wrote a quick story a few posts back, but it was more of a lark than a serious effort into writing something commercial. I mean, it would be nice if the story would sell, but I ain’t holding out much hope toward that happening. 

But, while I’ve not been writing much, I’ve been thinking about my writing and about how to improve it. I’m working on being more conscious of what I write. Thinking about exposition, characters, actions, plot . . . almost like a real writer might. Still not outlining anything, though . . . that’s still not me, Bob. 

Not with NaNoWriMo in mind, but wanting a bit of practice in case I do partake, I decided to write a scene. It’s 1,150 words or so. It’s posted below, for them who might be interested in reading it. After, I’ll go through what I was thinking as I wrote it . . . 


The Tavern
© 2016 E. J. D’Alise

“Clean Your Boots”

Meya looked at the sign and then down at her boots. Sighing, she picked up the coarse brush and cleaned the dried mud from the sides of her boots before wiping the bottoms on the bristles mat. She stomped her feet a few times and then entered, her eyes taking a moment to adjust to the lighting.

For a second, she was the center of attention, people’s hands automatically nearing the hilts of their swords or daggers. Once they deemed her innocuous, they turned their attention back to their drinks. Her eyes surveyed the patrons as she made her way to the counter. Two, maybe three who might pose a challenge should it come to that.

No, make that four. Meya focused on the young woman carrying a short sword across her back and a side-sword sporting an ornate guard. The handles on both swords were as worn as of those of Maya’s own swords, but the young woman could not be more than half her age, barely twenty if even, she judged, with an air confidence about her that reminded Meya of herself at that age. More important, the men in the tavern showed no interest in her. In this tavern, that spoke volumes.  

She headed for the bar and motioned one of the people behind it over to her.

“I’m looking for this man; seen him lately?” she asked as she unrolled the scroll, holding one of the sides flat with her hand.

The man stepped back and looked at her with suspicion.

“Where are you from?” he asked.

Meya’s peripheral vision alerted her to being the center of attention again, a fact confirmed by a corresponding drop in the general din of the place. By the time she answered, her voice carried in the near quiet of the place.

“The Center,” she replied as she moved her coat to clear her side-sword. The white and black emblem on the hilt was visible to the bartender and to a few of the people at the bar.

“You have no jurisdiction here,” the man continued.

Meya put some steel into her voice as she replied.

“Neither do I have the usual constraints.”

Her hand fastened the other flap of the coat to the hook on her hip, exposing her five slender throwing daggers and her short sword.

The bartender blanched at her words and stole a furtive glance to the back of the room.  Specifically, to the door at the back of the room. Meya headed to the door as a few people got up and headed for the exit. They were the smart ones; the ones who wanted to maximize the chances of still being alive tomorrow.

The not-so-smart ones, two men and one woman, stood up from their tables and blocked her path.

“We don’t like Clippers,” one of the men said. All three had their hands resting on their swords.

Meya stopped. A second later, her hand and arm having moved faster than most could register, the hollow-sounding ‘thud’ of one of her daggers embedding into the door behind them had all three of them turn . The message was clear; the dagger could have just as easily have found a different target on the way to the door.

Before they recovered, the door opened, and a hand dislodged the dagger from the wood.

“I’d recognize this calling card anywhere,” the man she had been asking about said as he stepped into the room. “Hello, Meya. What brings you to the Outlands?”

The three people between Meya and the man looked from one to the other and with as much dignity as they could muster, retreated to their respective tables.

Meya ignored them and walked up to the man with her hand outstretched.

“You, Leor,” she answered as he returned her dagger.

“Interesting. As I recall, your exact words were ‘I never want to see you again.’ That was followed with a threat to Clip me. “

“Times change, Leor.” Meya looked around the room before continuing. “Got a place we can talk in private?”

Leor pointed back to the still open door, and Meya led the way into the back room, Leor following. Inside the room, she held the door open for Leor and was about to close it when the young woman with the two swords slipped in after Leor and made her way to one of the corners.

Leor did not seem surprised. Meya checked if anyone else was coming in and then closed the door as she focused on the young woman settling on the bench by the window.

Meya stood looking from Leor to the young woman and made the connection, as incredible and unsettling as it was.

“You are married?” Meya asked, letting incredulity tinge her voice.

She registered the quick shadow come and go across Leor’s features. She looked at the young woman just in time to catch the fleeting moment of sadness, her smile now gone. It lasted but a moment before the woman’s face settled on a more serious expression.

“Was,” Leaor answered. He then pointed at Meya and the young woman in turn before continuing.  “Meya, meet Serel, my daughter. Serel, say hello to Meya.”

“Are you out of your mind?” Meya directed her question at Leor, but her eyes were fixed on the young woman. No, not a woman; a girl. Meya mentally adjusted her earlier age estimate to no more than sixteen. That was based on last having seen Leor eighteen years ago.

“What is it you want, Meya?” Leor asked ignoring the question and letting a bit of irritation creep into his voice.

“What I want? I wanted to tell you your mother has died without naming a successor. I wanted to bring you back for the formal transfer of The Seal to the head of the Council of Regents. Now I want to tell you to get as far away as possible and take her with you. “

“Shit.” Leor put little emotion behind the word. It was more of an assessment of the situation than an exclamation. “Ronek.”

“Exactly,” Meya concurred.

The girl got up and came up to them.

“What’s going on,” she asked, “and what does it have to do with me and who is Ronek?”

Meya looked at Leor who nodded.

“Ronek is your father’s cousin. She’s ambitious and unscrupulously power-hungry. She currently serves as Regent of The Center and heads the Council of Regents of the surrounding provinces. She was next in line to the throne, something she has waited for all of her life.

“Serel, as granddaughter to the Queen, as of a week ago, you are Queen of The Center and of all its provinces, and Ronek is not going to like that one bit.”

Meya watched as Serel’s confident demeanor was replaced by confusion and uncertainty as what Meya said sunk in.

End of scene


Keep in mind that is a rough draft. Also, know that I originally envisioned a Western scene, but decided to change the setting/time period. We don’t know if this is on Earth, but most people will assume it is so. 

One more thing . . . it’s not that the following analysis reflects my conscious thinking as I wrote the scene. Stuff just flows out of me, but as I envision the scene, at least a part of me is choosing words and actions that mesh with what I see in my mind’s eye. Hence, for instance, using the word tavern as opposed to bar or saloon.

So, the opening. Openings are meant to grab the reader and plop them down into a chair, holding them there until the story latches onto said reader and forms an addictive bond. There are a few ways to do that. I chose the mundane detail option (clean your shoes, muddy shoes), also using it to establish something about the scene. It’s not set in a modern era. 

The bit about the lighting serves to indicate poor lighting but it also gives me an excuse to have her look around. The bit about swords and daggers sets the era as pre-gunpowder (at least for now) and the fact everyone is wearing them also speaks to what kind of place it might be, as in people feel the need to walk around armed. Finally, her taking a measure of the people in the tavern for possible threats puts her in the bad-ass category. 

The bit about The Center and the emblem on the hilt hints at authority and some kind of official organization. Jurisdiction is a word that on its own implies law enforcement. The bit about constraints reinforces the fact that she is a bad-ass and so is her organization, whatever it might be. 

Side note: I struggled for a few minutes to come up with the word “Clipper” (and the subsequent “Clip”) because I wanted a derogatory/common name for her position as a way to indicated both how folks thought about her and her kind, but also to set up stuff for later on. While not yet explained, the thinking was that yes, she is law enforcement, and as part of being convicted for something, one would have their earlobe clipped. Getting arrested again would mean losing the other earlobe. Third time, you are done for. The thinking here is that it’s an easy way to keep track and identify criminals in your midst as well as forming the basis for a record that would travel with the person and make them easily identifiable. 

About this time, I decided this might easily be pushed toward the YA market and lowered the age of the young woman as well as introduced the conflict. My earlier thinking was to have Leor and Meya be brothers and sisters, but that would then negate that whole succession path I’m laying out. 


That’s something that I often do when I write. I start out with the beginning of the scene and it then evolves into something I had not planned at all.

From here, I could have Serel and her father run, or have Serel accept the post as queen. I would likely have her accept the post and set up the conflict in the court. In fact, if I were pursuing this story, I would get into court intrigue, the forming of bonds between different factions, set up a few loyal allies for Serel to counter the threat from Ronek. 

There would also be the opportunity to do a bit of exposition through the Serel’s eyes as she would have to be trained in the ways of the court. The training would also offer an opportunity for both humor and romance. 

It also occurs to me as I write this that Serel’s mother might be from a lower class of people, currently oppressed and mistreated by the provinces. Her mother might have died because of said mistreatment and a lack of proper care. Serel’s quest might be to become queen and right the wrongs of the society that chooses not to see the struggles of those “not in the know.”


What I just fleshed out would be a long book, and I find the premise interesting for exploring a number of socioeconomic issues. 

Note that none of this was thought of or envisioned as I wrote the opening lines. I started with the rough idea of a Western-like saloon confrontation and sailed forth into uncharted waters from there. In doing so, I *think* I have three fairly interesting characters readers would want to know more about and eventually care for. I could be wrong.

As usual, feel free to add additional feedback in the comments below. 

By the way, you can click on the photos for a larger version. The originals are in THIS SmugMug Gallery. That gallery will contain all of the photos from the NaNoWriMo 2016 update posts. I guess that means I will be partaking in the annual event. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Flash Fiction, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Hawai’i – Rainbow and Akaka Falls

We had visited both Rainbow and Akaka falls a number of times in the early and mid-nineties . . . and not since. Last month, on one of those days when we decide to skip our exercise routine, we drove to Hilo with the specific intent to visit these two falls . . . and perhaps get something to eat at Tex.


That’s Rainbow Falls. When the sun is at the right angle, a rainbow forms in the spray of the water. Somewhere I have a photo of our first visit when indeed a small rainbow is visible. When I say photo, I do mean photo . . . them were the pre-digital days. 

By the way, the other reason for going on these drives is that we get to spend 6+ hours in air-conditioned comfort. The weather is a bit cooler now . . . 


. . . but it was a bit warmer back in September. 

Memory is a funny thing . . . I remember flowers and beauty surrounding the area and the falls. Sadly, that is not the case now. The Wikipedia entry mentions that same beauty and lush surroundings.


I did see a few interesting trees, this being one of them . . . 


Here are the placards one can read at one of the viewing areas . . . 



This next shot is taken from under the shade of a large tree and I had to play with it a bit to bring out some of the details in the darker areas without blowing out the lighter areas. 


Here is a shot of just the falls . . . 


This is yet another tree I liked, and this had to be shot with the on-camera flash on to get any detail at all. 


This particular shady spot was lush and had flowers, but anything out in the open was dried and burnt. 

On our first visit here, I took a few photos of this Banyan tree but did not have the experience necessary to actually get decent photos. This area is under a huge canopy that effectively blocks out all of the light. The only ambient light is from the side. 



Those were shot with a very high ISO and the aid of the on-camera flash. I should have grabbed my tripod, but this worked out OK. I even did a panorama. 


As usual, you can click HERE for the full-size version (8MB). You can also go to the SmugMug gallery HERE for all the photos available at full resolution. 

This next shot is a vertical panorama composed of photos in portrait mode . . . 


Again, click HERE for the full version (7MB).

Here is one of the shots comprising the panorama:


This next landscape shot . . . 


is one of several landscape shots making up this panorama shot . . . 


Click HERE for the full version (10MB).

Those are two linear panorama composites. This next one is made up of 15 shots . . . 


If you really want to see the original, click HERE (22MB). Lots of detail in that one.

Here are two of the photos comprising the above panorama.



Let me take a little side trip before I continue to Akaka Falls.

As of today, I’ve reached a blogging milestone:

1,577 posts

Now, I know most people like to celebrate round numbers (1,500 or 1,000 or 100,000 or 15,000) but I am waging a lonely battle against the round-number-milestone herd mentality of people at large. 

Think about it . . . why is 1,000 any more special than 996 or 1,004? Who died and decided it should be king? Stop catering to this insanity! All numbers are of equal importance. In fact, 996 is way more important than 1,000. Heck, without 996, you wouldn’t even have 1,000 . . . you would only ever reach 995, and that’s it! Imagine how confusing it would be if every year was the year 995, or the cost of every expensive item would be $995.

Say . . . we might be on to something here! I say, let’s all agree to get rid of 996. WAIT! let’s get rid of 11. Imagine . . . every single thing in the world would cost no more than $10.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled post. 

Before we left Hilo to head up the coast, I snapped a photo of this landmark . . . 


That shows the height of various tsunamis that have hit Hilo.

Here is a panorama showing the monument in relation to the Hilo waterfront.


Click HERE for the full-size version of that shot (33MB). Not sure if you can open that in most browsers. You might have to download it or go to SmugMug to see it. 


Click HERE for the full-size version of that shot (10MB) which should work since it’s smaller. 

OK, so, Akaka Falls . . . 


The park was one of them places where being a resident saves you some money. Free parking and free access to the trail, otherwise $5 for parking and $1 to get on the trail. You can park outside the grounds to save the $5 parking fee. 

I did not look at the above trail map before heading to Kahuna Falls. The loop is a half mile around. I can do that with no sweat despite the steep climbs. That’s an expression . . . while it was not difficult, I did sweat plenty. Melisa had decided to wait at the car, so I did not want her to wait long and really hustled along the trail.

Well, except when I was taking photos. 




That last one was quite the nice spot.

20160907_dsc8913_1_dxo_digi 20160907_dsc8915_1_dxo_digi

I should have remembered something about Kahuna Falls . . . namely, that you can’t quite see it.


Mind you, it’s a beautiful spot, but hardly worth the hike. 


Still, worth a few photos . . . including one of these leaves. 


I’m old, so I might not be remembering correctly, but I think I had a plant with similar leaves while I was in college . . . forty years ago. 

When you take the path I did, you come upon the falls from an elevated angle . . . which is obstructed by vegetation. It did not use to be, but there you go. It’s also where Melisa was waiting for me, having decided to join me.

These next shots are all from the viewing area . . . which also has vegetation obstructing the view. These were shot with me standing on my toes and leaning forward as far as I could. 




That last one is my eye-level view. 

But then, this one particular spot was vacated by a couple of people that had been standing there talking, not even looking at the falls and I took this vertical panorama. 


That photo appeared on another post, but here it is again. And HERE is the full-size version (8MB).

Here is a crop of one of the shots comprising that panorama.


On the way back to the exit, I stopped to catch another small fall in a quite picturesque setting. Don’t be fooled, the scene was very dark and this too is one I had to tweak to coax out a decent image. 


That particular shot is taken from the bridge where those people are standing. Akaka Falls are in the background. 


You can’t see it from here, but those people are giant rear orifices. There was no one on that spot when I got there. A few seconds later, as I was still taking photos, they literally surrounded me. I’m talking shoulder-to-shoulder with one leaning in front of me to take a photo. No “excuse me”, no “may I” . . . they just crowded in. And then, they stood there talking as I left, not even looking at the falls, discussing their inbred heritage. 

Here’s a final shot of the falls from the top of the trail. 


Here are a few more signs giving pertinent information about the area. 





From there, North to Tex and a few Malasadas, then West to Waimea, down to the coast, and back South toward Kona. All and all, a good drive. 

Before I end this, here’s something not many people will have heard before. Some might not like it, but I thought it interesting . . . the epic version of the song Sound of Silence

One final thing before I go . . . did you catch the facial representation of the goat in the Banyan tree? For a moment, I thought a real goat was staring out at me. 

That’s it; this post has ended.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Sunday with my thoughts – still thinking

It’s late on Sunday evening . . . so this might go out on Monday. Heck, it’s already Monday in most of the U.S. Mainland. 


“What could you be thinking about?” you ask.

Good question, Bob. One thing is the Ironman Triathlon. The 2016 Championship war run yesterday here, in Kailua Kona. Our original plan to attend the event — or at least the beginning of it — morphed into let’s go for a drive far away from here and the 30K+ people that are attending. So, that’s what we did. Sorry. No photos of the event. 


I got me other photos, and no, the photos on this post are not them. These are all miscellaneous photos suited for a post where I am not specifically discussing said photos. Filler photos, if you will.

Yes, you can click on them for a larger view and you can see the original size photos at the ongoing SmugMug Gallery HERE.

I did get a few photos of various athletes and spectators during the week leading up to the event. I also have to admit I will miss certain aspects of the event. This whole past week there was an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation, so much so that even we felt it. That’s why we actually considered standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of strangers looking at people we don’t know doing things we don’t do. 

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Posted in Cruise Ship, Hawaii, Machines, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, The Big Island, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Lone Wolf Writing

It is of interest to me when stuff appears on the horizon and it seems to pertain specifically to me. Well, not just me. Others like me, and me. 

Edited to Add: note that it’s not necessary to read the articles linked below so as to subsequently enjoy my brilliant writing.

I’m talking about THIS and THIS articles which, at first glance, seemed to be but mirrors for me to see myself in. They deal with being Lone Wolf Writers. I mean, look at my header, my Gravatar, the name of this blog, all of them screaming it . . . I am a Lone Wolf . . . and I write.

Fall leaves,

Yeah, that’s a photo of leaves, not wolves. Since many places on the mainland are experiencing Fall, I thought I would showcase a few photos from days gone by. Nothing like that here, where I currently live. 

Anyway, I could see myself described in those articles. 

Lone Wolf Writers are those who shun critique groups, avoid craft classes, and cross the street when we see volunteer editors heading toward us. We are known for keeping to ourselves and avoiding too many voices in our heads and in our lives.

Not strictly true that in all of the particulars, but in broad terms, yes. I have little motivation to join a writing group. I don’t have nor am I cultivating extensive — or even minimal — contacts in the publishing field. I don’t go to writing conferences (yes, I went to HawaiiCon and it did have a writing track of sorts, but it was not very well focused; fun, yes, but I made no effort to ingratiate — or even introduce myself — to the talent that was there).

I don’t go online and befriend writers, agents, editors. What few panels and workshops I have attended, I’ve mostly kept quiet and indulged in minimal socializing, if any. 

Fall leaves,

When I saw those articles — especially the title and the opening of the first one — what I felt paralleled my experience in finding out there were other atheists out there in the wild, and that indeed, there was even a word like ‘atheist.’  

Yes, Lone Wolf as described applied to me and my writing. Like I said, I use a wolf head as an avatar; how could this not apply to me? Why, it might have even been written specifically to me, a particularly old and solitary Disperser. I cannot deny I had a certain anticipation about the prospect of learning how a Lone Wolf might “make it” in the publishing field.

Fall leaves,

Before I continue, my disclaimer: please do not misconstrue anything I’m about to say as me complaining, feeling sorry for myself, feeling dejected, suffering from a persecution complex, or in any way courting victimhood status.

Imagine my disappointment when I found out the gist of both articles were less about how to be a successful Lone Wolf and more how to stop being a Lone Wolf and court success. 

I commented on that fact, asking if there’s any path one might follow and achieve success while remaining a Lone Wolf. 

The answer I received was pretty much what I suspected but had never before heard voiced (er . . . seen written):

Most of us refer to our books as our “babies.” No one can make a baby alone.

The publishing process itself is so much bigger than writing. It includes editors, beta readers, layout artists, cover artists, marketing gurus, and, if you’re going traditional, agents and publishing houses. Unless the plan is to write brilliant novels and leave your progeny with the enormous task of seeing them into print after you’re gone, you will have to talk to someone sooner or later. Again, no one makes a baby alone.

I know that’s a hard pill to swallow. It took me years to accept it and crawl out of my shadowy coffee shop corner where I hid to play with my imaginary friends. If you find a way to make it without having to make connections, please write that how-to book. It would definitely be a bestseller among this lot of introverts known as authors.

There was a smiley at the end of that sentence. It was probably intended to ease the blow of what is a harsh truth. I don’t like smileys littering my blog, so I’m not reproducing it here. 

I thanked the person. 


I re-read that answer a number of times. Other commenters congratulated the writer on the cleverness and depth of advice it offered. 

I saw something else. The writer avoided the question. What she described was not so much how one might go about getting published, but the professionals involved in publishing. Yes, once a book is sold — or even if I were to self-publish it — all those people come into play in the effort to transform my final draft into a saleable product. But, those are professional relationships, and I can totally see those as part of my life after I sell a book. Some of those professionals relationships may even turn into friendships. 

The problem I have is with the advice repeated over and over in blogs, podcasts, workshops, in the dark corners of dark alleys . . . nurture friendships so as to leverage them into a professional relationship. 

Now, I’m pretty sure everyone giving that advice will immediately jump up and yell “Nay! That’s not what we are saying!”

They will then explain how you make friends without any thought to the possible benefits of friendship to your own career. That, apparently, happens by way of transmutation, and you cannot then be saddled with the mantle of opportunist because your new friend *wants* to help you out; I mean, they are your friend, right?

See, that argument would carry more weight if the whole advice things did not start with “you need to make friends who will help you achieve success” and end with specifically telling you to “target editors, agents, and other writers.”

Unfortunately, by nature, I can’t make myself befriend someone with the eventual intent of asking them for favors. In fact, I don’t ask friends for many favors, and that includes reading my stuff. Some friends know I write, but they’ve never read anything of mine because the basis for the friendship covers other interests. 

Last year I attended VP and met 23 other writers. I’ve beta-read for a few and I’m glad to do it, but after asking them to beta read a few stories, I stopped asking. I still, however, offer to beta read if anyone makes a general request. No one has specifically asked me to beta read for them, but that’s understandable since I’m not really close with anyone.

At my end, I stopped asking because I felt uncomfortable asking. There’s also the thing that most feedback is too slow. I’m not faulting anyone; people have lives and interests outside of writing.

There’s also the fact that the VP alumni are just a different version of a writing group. Meaning, I’ve not found anyone who writes like me. The Vipers have, in fact, formed feedback groups, but I did not join the two groups. 

Fall colors,

Here’s the weird part: I’m more comfortable with having someone I don’t know very well ask me to read my stuff. In those instances, there is no implied obligation on either side; they are curious, and I appreciate the feedback from someone who has no stake in the matter. Of course, that’s a rare occurrence. It has happened, but not with a frequency making it useful to my writing process.

The advice in the articles explains the process of befriending established writers, editors, and agents. About that . . . I seldom have anything in common with people I see on Facebook and Twitter (maybe because I’m much older than most), so even if I overcame my reluctance to befriend them for personal gain, I’m not sure what would form the basis for an eventual friendship. Add to that the fact most already have a number of friends (sometimes numbering in the thousands) and I see the whole process as futile.

The advice I could really use is how to strike a professional relationship with agents, editors, authors. Yes, I know, sell them something, but that’s the catch-22 I’m facing. Meaning, once I start selling stuff, I will have the level of feedback and interaction I’m looking for now so that I can get closer to making that first sale.

I don’t see is how to jump-start that kind of interaction ahead of making sales. Saying “make friends with them” in not a path I’m comfortable following, and I don’t have the money to hire them professionally.

BUT, fear not, for all is not lost!


All is not lost for I, the Lone Wolf, have a plan. The plan is to shop around the novel(s) I have written (and the ones I will write) as I concentrate on selling short stories. If I can get a few short stories sales under my belt, one of two things will happen; either I will leverage those sales into at least getting a few agents and/or editors to look at my stuff, or I will leverage those sales into selling the novels on my own.

And yes, at that point I would get the village people . . . er . . . the people in the village to help me with my baby; editors, beta readers, layout artists, cover artists, and marketing gurus.

If this a good plan? How the heck do I know? Also, whom would I ask? Isn’t clear by now that I’m a Lone Wolf?

It may very well be I will receive a chilly reception as I shop my stuff around . . . 



. . . but here is one piece of advice I hear over and over and over and over again:

Persistence Pays Off.

Is it good advice? We’ll find out together.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

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