the blank page

BookpageI recently read this encouraging little story...

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I’m supposed to write an article filled with biblical and practical wisdom that will inspire pastors to be better leaders, counselors and preachers, all the while knowing that I need to be on the other end of that article. I need to be the reader, not the writer. So I sat in my office, staring at a blank page.

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the warlord's companion

Cover1Yes, it's finally in print!

Just over 10 years ago, I was taking a break and read a few headlines from an internet news provider. One story described how archeologists had found a mummified panda in someone's tomb. The person being interviewed described the find and then commented that they felt the panda would be used for food in the afterlife.

I remember sitting back in my chair and thinking, "What if...?" What if the panda was not food? What if the panda was actually a pet?

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critical criticism

Sunday1CoverMy completed novel is still not published.

(Insert bored gasps...)

I know, I know. I keep telling myself to finish the dam thing.  And I want to. But one thing keeps stopping me.

Fear.

Lately I've been looking into the reviews of books I've read and in particular I've been looking over the criticisms that appear within a book's listing on websites like Amazon and Good Reads:

  • "The novel just plodded; it was advertised as 'fast-paced', but that's false advertising..."
  • "I couldn't connect with the characters..."
  • "The book is full of barely sketched characters and the writing was so pedestrian that I was never drawn in..."

Ouch.  And it wasn't even said about MY book.

And there are many examples of now famous novels which were panned by readers and critics when they were first published - like "Brave New World", "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Catcher in the Rye".  My book isn't anything as life-changing as those classic writings - but it was never written to be anything more than a good story and a personal dare to see if I could finish something.

I realize that I won't be able to stop people from picking up my book and saying to themselves and to others, "What a load of crap."  And I never intended for it to be up there with Steinbeck or Hemingway. An idea popped into my head one day after reading a news article, I asked myself "What if...", and the story and the character seemed to evolve from there.

But now that I'm on the brink of publishing it, I find myself full of doubts, questions, and anxiety.

I don't know if that's normal for anyone who has gotten to the point of sending out their effort, but thoughts of my first novel effort not being worth anyone's time to read has grabbed me by the throat like a Harry Potter dementor - and seems to just suck the writing joy right out of me.

And so...there it sits. The manuscript is on it's final update, and I've told myself that after this current edit, I'll upload it to the self-publisher I've selected and move forward from there.

I had hopes that it would be ready for this Christmas, but it probably won't make that deadline.

Where's my dam patronus when I need it?