Friday, April 30, 2010

Why Harley-Davidson

Native Americans call it “The Iron Pony”, a description well put. When you straddle the leather seat, there is a feeling not unlike when a cowboy mounts a wild horse at a rodeo. You know something awesome is about to happen, but you’re not quite sure what. Starting a hog for the first time is part of a love affair that will last forever. When that “Twin V” engine comes to life between your legs, you will have an idea of how that wild horse rider must feel.

Nothing on the planet sounds like a Harley. At an idle, it has a low chugging beat, slow and strong like a rhinoceros just before the charge. The weight and massiveness of the machine is deceptive, even a little intimidating. Your first thought is that if this bike falls, it’s all over but the crying. Oh, well, either ride it or sell it! Once you let the clutch out and start to move, magic happens. The ponderous, chrome hog becomes a graceful lady, responsive to your every touch. Each gear a different dimension to her character. Every mile per hour faster a study in stability.

You look at your companion riders in front, on the side and behind. A knowing smile spreads quickly. You are part of an American legend. Ride your “Iron Pony” into the sunset. A great adventure waits!

Write on,


Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Name Is Harley

My owner came up to me today looking sad, irritated and stressed out. Well, it's no wonder; it has been days since we went for a ride. He came back to the house feeling good about himself, the world, and life, the last time we rode. Then he washed me with loving care and I could see pride in his eyes, but he still locked me in the dark, cold garage when the wash was finished. It gets lonely in here, butt head. They don't call me Road King for nothing. I'm ready to run with the big dogs and you park me by a washing machine. What an insult!

Oh, what the hell, he is here now and we are warming up for another ride. Life is good and maybe this time he will ride me into the sunset and not come back for weeks. Sturgis maybe, or the high country of Colorado? Who cares, as long as we are hell bent for leather and riding in the wind.

Write on,


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In The Day

I really like the History Channel show, "American Pickers." It's hard to believe that we are living in the 21st century, yet there are people all over the world that still cling to old stuff in barns, garages and basements.

Why is that?

Well, first of all, keepers of old stuff are usually seniors. As a senior myself, I too have old stuff in the shed and nic-nac cabinet. We long for the good old days when life was simple and uncomplicated. Like The Old Man in Pawn Stars puts it, "We like to think about in the day, because it makes us feel good."

In the day was about honesty, truthfulness, being law abiding, a day's work for a day's pay, In God We Trust, children, Christmas with handmade presents, Easter egg hunts, Memorial Day parades with the United States flag flying everywhere, Fourth of July picnics at the park, Labor Day swimming at the pond, and Thanksgiving dinner with family from all four corners of the country.

Greed in the day was stealing a few cookies, while they were cooling, from the kitchen window. You could maybe tell a little white lie once in a blue moon and still feel good about yourself. Partying was snitching a little bottle of tequila from the camp trailer that was used for summer vacation and waking up with a horrible hangover, which kept you from doing it again. Marriage was for a lifetime and making love was for after you got married. Being neighborly and generous was normal, and saying the word God in the Pledge of Allegiance was not embarrassing.

I guess it all boils down to one thing. The past is gone, but we can still respect one another and our planet. It's not too late to get our standards back up to where they were when our forefathers brought forth this great country. Let's practice the Golden Rule and live today like the In The Day.

Write on, brother, write on....


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wheatmark Publishing

February of 2009, I started toying with the idea of writing and self-publishing two e-Books. Why I Ride Harleys and The Smoking Guardian Angel's Guide to Quit Smoking.

The journey from newbie writer to published author was long, tedious, expensive and filled with many pitfalls. Why? Because I tried to do it by myself with the Internet as my guide.

Half-way through the self-publishing ordeal with my e-Books, I decided to write a murder mystery. By this time I had learned many things from my mistakes and started researching Publish On Demand publishers or PODs. There were a lot of PODs on line and researching each and every one was time consuming and frustrating.

By the time I had finished my manuscript, I found Wheatmark Publishing almost by accident. Three things impressed me about Wheatmark during the research stage. One...they would pick up the promotional costs after 2,000 copies sold (Some critics said, "Good luck with that one!). Two...they were based in Tucson where the novel takes place. Three...the cost was far below their next competitor. As far as the "good luck with that one statement," I have faith in my novel and my goal is much higher than 2,000.

I called and was introduced to Atilla Vekony. Yes, that's his name and publishing is his game. Because they were a POD, I didn't expect the request to send my manuscript for approval. OMG, I hope it passes muster. When Atilla got back to me, he said the book was great and would I come to Tucson to discuss publishing Evil in the Mirror. After traveling to Tucson, I was so impressed with the office and staff, I signed up that very day.

Evil in the Mirror is scheduled to be published next month. We are almost through the Author Proof Review and it's been an exciting and rewarding journey. Thanks to Wheatmark's training programs and guidance, I am writing a sequel with the knowledge that it too will be published. That, my friends, take a real load off the author's mind.

Write on....


Monday, April 26, 2010

Murder Mystery Bed & Breakfast

Hot diggity, now this sounds like fun! Pack up for a weekend B & B and leave your work and personal stress behind. Guests spend a couple of days trying to find the murderer (who by the way, is the only one permitted to lie). I love a good murder mystery, but wouldn't it be fun to act out one?

I know, murder mystery B & Bs have been around for a long time, but I have been cooped up in this office even longer writing murder mysteries. Give me a break, OK?


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gunnery Sergeant, R. Lee Ermey

No, I am not a veteran and the guilt of that statement has been riding up my kazoo for decades. I started watching Mail Call on the History Channel and immediately gained respect for Gunney. I know war is awful, but watching him operate equipment, shoot weapons and blow stuff up is exciting and educational.

My daughter joined the Navy right out of high school and it was such a proud moment when she graduated boot camp at the Great Lakes Navel Training Center. She went on to complete a twelve year stint that included a tour in Iraq as a Military Police Officer. After that tour, she left the Navy to continue her education at Northern Arizona University. I am so proud of her and all the men and women who protect our freedoms in America.

I love America and our flag. I believe in God and think we should NOT remove his name from any part of our culture for any reason. "In God We Trust" means just that!

Gunney has a Web site that let's men and women who may not have served in the Armed Forces, but believe strongly in our country and way of life, participate along side our military heroes. You get to rub shoulders with the best of the best.

If you get a chance, visit Gunney on line and for sure check out Mail Call on TV. Both are outstanding!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Miracle of Horse Therapy

As Gunney Sergeant R. Lee Ermey would say, "Listen up, numb nuts, or give me 25!"

Connections Equine Therapy Program in Cornville, Arizona, needs your help to be able to continue services for challenged and disabled children and adults. The act of giving is one of the things that makes America great. We reap what we sow. My wife and I give volunteer time and donations to Connections Equine Therapy because we know it provides a wonderful venue for the rehabilitation of spirit, mind and body for so many people who are in need. Today this includes many of our courageous returning vets!.

It's a critical time for non-profits that depend on donations and volunteers to keep the wolf from the door. We need your help! Please contact Connections Equine Therapy Program and donate time, money, whatever you can to keep this dynamic, selfless program alive.

Please help us out or I will sick Gunny on you!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Thank God it's Friday

This Friday will be different....I'm tired and don't want to write anything! Working on trying to get Evil in the Mirror author corrections finished is killing me softly.

It's my blog and I'll snivel if I want to.

Click on the title of this blog and enjoy something on the lighter side.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Stalker

Soon you will meet Otis Buford, the Pock Face Rapist, in the murder mystery, Day Stalker. Even though this book is fiction, Otis is based on a very real person who was terrorizing Tucson, Arizona, in the late 1960s.

I remember thinking at the time, What a great book this story would make. Little did I know that I would be writing the book forty years later. Better late than never for murder mystery fans.

It felt like Tucson was still a territory in 1969. Crime was being solved without benefit of today’s technologies. There were no cell phones, computers or instant communications. Police dealt with bad hombres who all had Wild West, cowboy mentalities. Every pickup truck had loaded rifles in gun racks and pistols on dashboards. Pure, unadulterated drugs were everywhere and cheap, comparatively speaking.

Police, for the most part, where high school grads, maybe some Nam military experience…academy, and then they became instant crime fighters. Motorcycle cops all rode Harley-Davidsons; detectives drove big-block four-door sedans, and patrolmen cruised in black and whites with a couple large cherry top lights that could be seen a mile away by the bad guys.

There were four major Tucson factions in the day: police, red necks, hippies, and dark characters that operated in the shadows. Otis was one of the latter, and before it was all said and done, he would scare the hell out of the whole community!

Day Stalker will be published by Wheatmark, Inc. this fall.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's that UFO crap again!

I was in the middle of researching background for my new murder mystery Day Stalker this morning, when I had a rare flashback of a cigar shaped flying saucer I saw while on the way to the San Diego County Fair in 1953. I know that if I don't stop writing long enough to let the moment pass, it will bug me for hours.

The flashback is like something caught in a strobe light, brilliant, sharply focused and unforgettable. Right now I am thinking, Why in the hell would I write about this crap in my blog? Do I crave criticism and ridicule? Am I trying to alienate (no pun intended) readers or worse yet, future book customers?

It is really none of the above; what I am trying to do is stop and smell the roses. We fiction writers get caught up in our own fantasy world which is hard to exit for food and drink. I went into the kitchen, brought back a glass of orange juice, stretched, sat down at my desk, and then Googled UFOs. Why not spend a few minutes and see what there is to see?

If you click on the title of this blog, you will see what I found. Go ahead and take a few minutes to smell the craziness.

Have fun, space nut; I am going back to work!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Evil in the Mirror

I know, we are not supposed to plug our products too much on our blogs, but I just can't help tooting my own horn once in a while.

You guessed it, my murder mystery is in the final stages of Author Review at the publishers and I can't sleep, eat or think clearly. There is only one thing that is never affected and that is my ability to shoot the bull! God save the Queen!

Please click the title of this blog and visit my Web site...your going to love it!


Monday, April 19, 2010

I want to be a Ghost Buster!

During high school, I hung around the usual nerd group reserved for not jocks and not so popular teens. We were not super beautiful or super handsome, sporting fab hair and no pimples. We were middle of the road normal, if you can call any teenager normal.

Some of this group would fade into obscurity, but some would developed into bright, shinning stars. Nancy Bradley is one of those stars...

I was reunited with Nancy at out 40th. high school reunion, along with others who had fled Escondido, California after graduation. Nancy migrated to northern California and became a Celebrity Psychic and International Paranormal Investigator. Even though I was not a believer in such stuff, I was fascinated with her journey from high school to TV, radio, writer of best selling books and renowned Psychic.

After the reunion, Nancy and I stayed in touch and she re-kindled my desire to write self-help books. She would send me her newest book and I would reciprocate with my newest small, self-published effort. Her knowledge and enthusiasm was contagious and soon I found myself wanting to write a murder mystery novel.

Nancy introduced me to Cat Noble, educator and a member of Nancy's Paranormal Investigations Team. With much help from both of these extraordinary women, I was able to write Evil in the Mirror which will be published next month. You can bet both these ladies are mentioned in my acknowledgements.

I just finished reading Nancy's new book, Be A Ghost Buster, for the second time and marvel at the her team's professionalism. I am especially thankful for their approach to things that go bump in the night. The reader is encouraged to make up their own mind as to the creditability of the content. I never liked being forced to believe in any subject or philosophy.

I think it would be great to travel the world looking for paranormal activities, especially with a group like Nancy's. I salute you dear friend...keep up the good work!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

An open letter to my brother in Tucson

Dear Bro,

Well, this is how it works...Amazon is the biggest name in book sales. My promotional efforts will, of course, be centered on Web sales through Amazon.

The Wheatmark Book Store is another place where the book can be purchased online, but it will be at the full price. Amazon cuts that price by a bunch. Wheatmark pays me a 40% royalty while Amazon only pays me a 20% royalty, but that is how Amazon sells for less. Well, that and volume.

Now for those who cannot buy online because they don't have a credit card. The book will be available at some brick and mortar stores and I am sure it will be full price. I think Barnes & Noble and some others that follow Wheatmark will carry the book.

I receive 20 Author Copies and if I want more I have to buy them at 40% off the retail price. I could do that; pick them up in Tucson, thus saving shipping costs and sell them to friends who cannot go online. This would only be viable to Tucson friends and would sell for somewhat higher than Amazon, but lower that retail.

This time the focus has to be on sales. The chances of an unknown, newbie author becoming a best seller is like winning the lotto. Selling 2000 copies is a huge thing. It is at that point that Wheatmark takes over financially for future promotions. Only a handful of their published authors have made that level. I intend on being one those authors through hard work and smart promoting! Free is a bad is a good word.

To sweeten the pot, I intend on giving each person who buys Evil in the Mirror in Tucson a copy of Why I Ride Harleys and Stop Smoking Guardian Angel for free. Through research, I have learned that book signing parties at brick and mortar stores do not sell books, thus I have narrowed this kind of promotion. They are good for ego and vanity, but those two things only hinder sales! I plan one signing at this year’s high school reunion in August, and one in Sedona at the Worm book store. The owner of the Worm was the only guy who wanted to help me with my first self-published books last year. I think he deserves to get some traffic from Evil. I know enough people in Sedona to make it worthwhile in exposure, if not sales.

There you have it in a nutshell...please follow my blog and see if your friends will do the same.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ridin Harleys and Lovin Life


Native Americans call it “The Iron Pony”, a description well put. When you straddle the leather seat, there is a feeling not unlike when a cowboy mounts a wild horse at a rodeo. You know something awesome is about to happen, but you’re not quite sure what. Starting a hog for the first time is part of a love affair that will last forever. When that “Twin V” engine comes to life between your legs, you will have an idea of how that wild horse rider must feel.

Nothing on the planet sounds like a Harley. At an idle, it has a low chugging beat, slow and strong like a rhinoceros just before the charge. The weight and massiveness of the machine is deceptive, even a little intimidating. Your first thought is that if this bike falls, it’s all over but the crying. Oh, well, either ride it or sell it! Once you let the clutch out and start to move, magic happens. The ponderous, chrome hog becomes a graceful lady, responsive to your every touch. Each gear a different dimension to her character. Every mile per hour faster a study in stability.

You look at your companion riders in front, on the side and behind. A knowing smile spreads quickly. You are part of an American legend. Ride your “Iron Pony” into the sunset. A great adventure waits!

Mitt Winstead

Friday, April 16, 2010

Evil in the Mirror Author Proof Review

I worked all night to finish the Author Proof Review of my novel. Now it goes back to the publisher and they make the changes and then send it back to me. If it is OK, I sign off on the book and three weeks later the book is released into the wild.

I am as excited as a rabid dog with slobbering jaws clinging to a mailman's leg!

Got to get some sleep...zzzzzzz


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Critique This!

I must admit that having my work critiqued by a stranger pisses me off most of the time. “What do you mean my book’s timeline is not clear? It’s clear to me, butt head!” Oh, crap, there I go again taking critiques personally.

My first critique ever was from a schoolmarm that lives in California. She said my writing was at the ninth grade level, but that it would target a great range of readers around the world. Another good thing about writing at that level is that it keeps the PhD’s critiquing. After all, if it were not for writers like me, they would be mummified in their library chairs, with a glass of expensive scotch wasted, cigar cold and lifeless and an old phonograph needle skipping like a rock on a pond, repeating the same scratchy musical phrase over and over.

Don’t get me wrong, a person with PhD worked hard to reach that level. I just wish they would have some appreciation for those of us who have PhD’s in the school of hard knocks. We worked hard too, but with no recognition.

I did find one book critic on line who seems to have half a heart. Just click the title of this blog and have a go at it.

Does it help PhDers’ to know that I like Dr. Phil? Probably not, but that’s the best I can do!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Treadmill Aliens

Three times a week, I "Sharpen The Saw" with a wild and woolly workout. When I finish my workout program designed to help with arthritis due to 47 years in the construction industry, I jump on the treadmill for a 30 minute fast paced climb up Mt. Everest.

To keep from being bored out of my skull during all this excitement, I watch television. This morning my usual animal programs were all repeats, so I settled for an expose on the Military Channel about UFOs’, Aliens and Area 51.

“Hey, ma, it’s that alien crap again!”

Why am I drawn to this stuff? Could it be because I feel so alien all the time? My evil identical twin brother ( and I were born with super large heads, our own secret language, simultaneous dreams, ESP and God only knows what else. We always knew our parents were mere earthlings, because they were so boring. I wondered if mom knew she was a victim of alien abduction, because it explained everything.

The day I turned 21, I told my mom about seeing a flying saucer while we were going to the San Diego County Fair in 1953.
“Why did you wait so long to say anything,” she replied?
“Simple, mom, you can’t have me committed after I become of age.”
“Silly boy, we could have committed you and your brother many times in the last 21 years had we wanted to.”

Humm, good point…

In any case, click on the title of this blog if you want to see what my bro and I looked like when we were ten years old.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Have a good day in spite of me,


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Promotion Gold

I usually don't like to suggest products, but this one is worth looking at if you are ready to promote your novel. It doesn't matter if you are traditionally published or self-published; promotion is your responsibility unless your name is Stephen King, which it is not, because he wouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.

A friend introduced me to the concept of sending inexpensive cards to everyone I know, might know or could know to promote the book once it is on Amazon. At first, I was not interested because I didn’t want to become a distributor just to get cards wholesale. It was a pleasant surprise to find out I could just pay a wholesale up-front fee and then be able to purchase the cards for 94 cents each, plus the postage cost. Have you tried buying a professional looking card in a store lately? You have to mortgage the ranch to afford them. Sendacard (click the title of this blog) is very reasonable and very professional looking, as is the envelope.

This is just one viable way to promote your novel. My publisher recommends: Blog, Twitter and Facebook. It’s a full time job keeping all of these options up and running on a daily basis, but this is what it takes to get noticed in the real world!

If you would like to see what the cover of my card looks like, check out and click the book cover section.

Have a productive day,


Monday, April 12, 2010

Strawberry Cake

Last Saturday, we celebrated my mother-in-law, Betty’s, 83rd birthday with a steak dinner at our house. Unfortunately, her two sons and one grandson living in Michigan were unable to attend. Her other grandson did attend, but minus his wife because she is in Australia visiting friends. Damn, she makes me mad; we should be there too! Oh well, that’s another blog…

It’s true; I have the best mother-in-law in the world. I call her mother, because mine passed about the same time as Betty’s husband in 1996. The first time I called her mom she protested that she wasn’t my mother. I simply reminded her that she was the only mom I had. From that point on she no longer protested, and in fact seems comfortable having another son.

It is apparent that there is some truth to the term generation gap, because she and I don’t see eye to eye on most issues. One thing we do agree on is strawberry cake. After a great dinner, we surprised her with the most scrumptious strawberry cake you have ever seen. It may have been store bought, but it looked and tasted fantastic. We dug into the cake like wild banshees even though we were stuffed from Sirloin steak, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs and fresh green salad.

After desert, the group looked like fattened pigs on market day. There is nothing like a good meal to reaffirm family ties and remind us of how lucky we are to live in a country like America.

Strawberry cake also reminds us that spring has sprung, and not too soon for me. Bring on summer, watermelon, swimming, hamburgers, cold drinks and family. Life is good and I am loving it…


Sunday, April 11, 2010

From There to Here

The journey from wanna-be writer to a published author is a long and tedious trip, but one with adventure, learning, disappointments and triumphs. The trail is rocky and uphill, with few smooth downhill runs. I have sometimes lamented, “What in the hell possessed me?” and other times wondered, “Why haven’t I always done this?”

In my younger years, I would start writing with pen and paper, only to be discouraged by my lack of experience and maturity. Many times a book would start with ideas bombarding me at breathtaking speed, only to be lost because of my day job, responsibilities, and failing interest due to lack of concentration. It wasn’t until the advent of word processing on computers and my advancement to writing contracts and correspondence in the construction industry that the spark was again ignited and creative writing became a reality.

About the time I learned touch typing from a CD, the Internet became available to the general public. How many people started out on the Internet with AOL? I know I did and dial-up was big news. Being part of it all was exciting. It wasn’t long though that dial-up became a nightmare in slowness. High speed was the way and I became a techno nerd. I was on my way to learning computers the hard way. “Crash and burn” was a way of life with me, but after each mistake and then correction, I learned more. When a PC became part of the tools needed in the job site trailer, life was good, even when I would crash the darn thing trying to install new software. After each resurrection, I felt pride of accomplishment and wiser for the mistake.

In 1996, I wrote my first short story called Mitt Spoken Here. It was a rambling work about life, death, religion and salvation. I passed copies to family and friends but did not even think about publication. Besides, being self-published was just a dream at that time. The piece became part of the now published The Smoking Guardian Angel’s Guide To Quit Smoking. About the same time, I wrote a short piece called Why Harley-Davidson. It later became part of the published work called Why I Ride Harleys. Little did I know that ten years after writing these short works that they would become part of my first published books! I also wrote a few poems during this time and included them in the stop smoking book. I am so thankful for the foresight to save all my writing; somehow I knew these early attempts would come in handy someday.

Someone told me once that I would never find a publisher and I would never make money writing. That person should read Evil in the Mirror, because if you believe you can’t do something, you will never be able to do it. I agree that money can be a strong motivator if you are on unemployment and the wolf is at the door, but writing must be your passion long before it can become your profession. Yes, the statistics are daunting considering how many books are written each year and then compared to how many are published. In my mind the reason is simple. There are millions of people who are not writing about their passions; instead they are writing about what they think people want to read. Now this last sentence can be true about e-Books. Let’s face it; this style of writing is based on demand. That’s why people writing e-Books always research the market first and the content second. This is still creative writing, because ultimately you have to sell the reader on the book’s content.

My passion was a novel with romance, thrills, spills, and even murder. After publishing two small books, I knew it was time to get to work and write the novel that had been festering in my head for 25 years! Yes, I want to be a famous and wealthy author; but more than that, I want to finish my novel knowing it is the very best I had to offer and gives the reader value for their hard earned money.

During the process of writing Evil in the Mirror, each and every character has become real to me. I laugh, love, cry and hate right along with all the people in this book. My only fear when I started this book was that delving into the dark side of human existence would somehow rub off on my physique. It had taken me all these years to get to a place in my mind and heart that is based on the Golden Rule. Of course, my concerns were unfounded, because from the very first I identified with the main character, Detective John Mull. I am safe with him leading the way through the darkness of truly evil people.

The most important tool in getting published is recognition. If you click on the title of this blog, you will see many Web sites that pertain to my writings. I simply learned how to build Web sites and promoted them like a wild banshee. I made and am still making a ton of mistakes, but after each one, my expertise improves. When these sites became visible by climbing higher on search engines, I started getting offers from e-Book publishers concerning my two short books. My research indicated that it was best to rent space on a virtual book store for a small fee and market the books through my Web sites. My wife and I decided to spend the money for printing at a local print shop, and we had 500 copies of each book done for those buyers who would want signed copies they could carry with them. This move opened the door for local book signings and promotions. This was before signing with Wheatmark, Inc. Since then I have pulled the e-Books off the market so to speak, to be able to focus 100% on my novel.

It is important to note that during this whole process, my E-mail account started to be bombarded with get-rich-quick schemes that are only a nuisance and of no value whatsoever. My first effort to sell e-Books was with this kind of scam, and it only cost more money with every passing day. I like to call these types of offers "reverse pyramids." The first hook is that for $19.95 you will be shown how to sell their books online and make a fortune while lying on the couch in your pjs, drinking beer, and watching TV. The next day when you check to see if you have sold any books, you are told about the next step which only costs $29.95. It was at this point that a bell went off, and I licked my wounds, retreated, never to return. When I stopped participating in their program, I received cell phone calls, day and night, from people who could hardly speak English wondering why I wasn’t spending more money to become successful. The deluge lasted for months, until finally the calls stopped after I continued to hang up in the middle of their conversation!

I find the easy part is writing, but even this can be a challenge when it comes to proofing. My wonderful wife proofs everything I write, including what you are reading now. She has much experience, having worked her way to an executive position at a worldwide company, but even this is not good enough. Before you look for a publisher, your work must shine like new 50-dollar gold piece and proofing should always be done professionally! You also need a publicist to represent you and your work. Now is when it becomes nice if you know someone who is published and can help you with the challenges.

Oh, did I mention that if it were easy there would be billions of people doing it? Writers are made, not born, and it is through trial and tribulation that they become recognized. Your work must be unique to begin with if you are to compete. Passion and perseverance is the key to success in writing. Belief in yourself and your work should always be your goal. Focus on you and your story. When that is done, focus on promoting your work.

It's all up to you...I say, "Go for it!"


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Screw Writer's Block

An author friend of mine asked me recently how to stop writer's block. I listened intently about her problem and after she finished explaining her dilemma, I recommended that we both research the subject on the Web together and see what was cooking with writer's block.

If you click the title of this blog, you will find the site my friend and I thought addressed the problem best. We discussed "The Ten Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block" and agreed there was some helpful information and that at least four tips were particularly insightful.

2. Don't Be To Hard on Yourself:

This one really hit the nail on the head. As authors (especially newbie writers), we have the tendency to beat ourselves senseless at every opportunity. Lighten up, dudes and dudettes. Be kind to yourself, and laugh it off. Besides, why would you pay people to proof and edit your book if it is perfect to begin with. Trust me, it won't be anywhere close to perfect until this process is complete.

4. Take Time Off If You Have Just Finished a Project:

After I finished Evil in the Mirror, and the manuscript was sent to the publisher for proofing and editing, I must admit to starting three books simultaneously. I had to come up with not only a sequel, but two other book ideas that had been festering in my pea picker for years. I soon discovered that the most important thing for me to do was take my creative energy and start building an Author's Platform. In other words; figure out how I was going to market the book I had already written. I know my publisher is clamoring for another book to publish in conjunction with the one finished, but all in good time folks. "First things first" needs to be your plan.

7. Work On More Than One Project At a Time:

Shades of tip number 4. As it turned out, maybe having simultaneous projects is not such a bad thing. This tip may not be for everyone, but it's great to have future book ideas started and then you can come back to them at a later date. Personally, I like to focus and really dig in when writing a novel. I only come up for air when the body of the work is complete.

10. Remember Why You Started To Write In The First Place:

I liked this one a whole bunch. How many times have you heard how important it is to live your dreams with passion? I don't care what you do for a living, if it isn't what you want to do and there is no passion, it sucks! This goes for life in general, does it not? If your passion is to write and create works that thrill your readers, then forget writer's block, get on with it.

There you have it...write with passion, gusto and honesty. Don't worry about mistakes. Hell, I haven't made a mistake since "what time is it?"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Evil in the Mirror

I thought I would pass on the latest news about my new mystery novel, Evil in the Mirror. We are getting close to publishing and I am like "a cat on a hot tin roof."

We are planning to do a book signing in Escondido, California during this year's reunion "Same Time Next Year" bash in August. (Maybe at the Round Table Pizza Saturday night?) The book will be out in June, so I can't wait for the 50th. reunion in 2011, the 49th. will have to do...the prodigal son returns sort of thing. I know, "vanity, vanity, all is vanity." I have the need to prove something I guess. My evil twin, Walt, and I were such screw-ups in high school, but we turned out OK in the end.

The following is the response from Wheatmark Publishing after I E-mailed the final revisions for the grabber and acknowledgements:

Right now you just hang out, enjoy the fabulous Arizona spring, and around the 17th. I’ll be sending you an interior and cover for your Author Proof Review: Stage 1.

After that, you’ll submit any corrections you have, we’ll make them, you’ll look over it again, you’ll submit corrections, rinse, repeat until perfect.

Once perfect, you’ll sign a Proof Approval Form giving me permission to release the book into the wild. Then three weeks later, you’ll have books in hand to annoy your friends and family with! It’s going to be sweet!

Kat E. Gautreaux

Wheatmark, Inc.

Yes, it is sweet, Ms. Kat, but the real work begins after the book is published. The whole process is exciting and worth every minute invested. Full speed ahead and damn the tomatoes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meteorite Men

I watched Meteorite Men on the Science Channel last night and it has inspired me to load the equipment in my Toyota Tundra and head to Cottonwood, Arizona for a look-see today. I noticed Geoff has a Tundra truck also. Maybe it’s an omen or something?

Watching Steve and Geoff wade in the Texas mud reminded me of the mud in Kansas when I was working construction at the Fort Riley Army Base. God, it was awful stuff. The more you walked, the thicker it caked on your boots until they weighed so much you had to stop and try to scrape it off so you could continue to walk. Watching the two meteorite hunters duck hornet’s nests while walking in a grove of trees gave me the creeps too. Everything in Texas is big, including, but not limited to, HORNETS!

Again, I have to take my hat off to these guys. It’s not enough to know that Steve and Geoff have a successful TV show. They are also fearless, hard working men with enough grit to sharpen a knife blade! I can’t help but make a comparison with the program Pawn Stars ( on the History Channel. It would be great if the Pawn Stars could be in the same physical shape as the Meteorite Men. I do like both programs and I suppose being out of shape has its place, especially if your name is Chumley.

Well, it’s off to the desert for me. If I don’t return, it is because the desert beat me, or I found a 500 pound rocky meteorite and retired to Costa Rica…


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reach For The Prize

I will be in great company once my book is published by Wheatmark, Inc. If you get a chance, click the title to this blog and research another Wheatmark author, James D. Best. This guy is a great writer and he also helps newbies with relevant advice and guidance.

I am totally convinced that a publishing partnership with Wheatmark is the only way to go...they teach you how to grab the best seller prize. It's hard work, but what in life is really worth going after if it is easy? Besides, if it were easy, everyone and their mother would be doing it and the quality would be dismal.

Personally, I like the challenge. It keeps me out of trouble...


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pickles, the Evil Parrot

Why would I blog about my parrot, Pickles? Well, I thought because he is my writing companion, I should introduce him to my reading audience.

About five years ago, my wife wanted another parrot for her birthday. I was introduced to our first parrot, Albert (an Amazon Red killer bird who would remove an ear or lip just for kicks) when we married fifteen years ago. He was finally given away to an olds folks home Avery because he was becoming the same liability as owning a rabid Pit Bull.

When my wife requested the bird for her birthday, I thought, Oh, crap, here we go again. We found a small green, yellow and blue parrot and he cuddled up to wifey immediately. He was so cute, and appeared so tame, but at the same time, Albert was still fresh in my mind chasing me up the stairs as I screamed, "Sandy, come get this evil, damn bird before he extracts a toe!"

As it turned out, Pickles bonded to me. We take showers together, whistle and talk to each other and we just simply became, buds. He will tolerate wifey, but occasionally bites her just for kicks. He hates my daughter and mother-in-law with a passion. I frankly don't understand his attitude. Both these ladies are great and what's not to love?

While it is obvious that we have a perpetual two year old in the house, I can't imagine life without Pickles. At least I don't have to worry about grieving his loss. The little devil will surely outlive me!

I have decided to insert Pickles into my next murder mystery, Day Stalker. He will be living with Detective Jon Mull and his new...What am I thinking? You will have to read the book to find out what happens.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Take a few minutes and read the following incredible, "Out of the mouth of babes."

A Dog's Purpose? (from a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?''

The Six-year-old continued,''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I am going to watch the sunrise here in Quartzsite this Easter morn and reflect on my life and times. I don't have to be religious to watch a beautiful sunrise and feel good about myself and life. I also don't have to be involved in organized religion to appreciate Jesus and all the other teachers of Devine Love. What I do have to do is a try to be the best person I can be so I can recognize and understand their message of hope, understanding and Love.

I know; this post is all about me, but you have to love who you are before you can love others.

Have a great Easter...



Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Best Friend

When I am in the author mode, I sometimes treat my wife with less than the loving care she deserves. After all, if it were not for my very best friend, I would be shoveling crap in a stable for a living with a bottle of vino in my saddle bag.

I want to apologize for all the times I wasn't the loving best friend she too married. Lord knows I try hard, but she is a tough act to follow. She loves the stuff I write, thank God, or I would have never continued had she not.

I consider myself the most lucky man in the world. Lucky in love, friendship and companionship. What more could a man ask for? OK, now that I have asked...what about me finding just one more meteorite?

Men are such butt heads, but ya gotta love em!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Day Stalker

I am still in Quartzsite working on my new novel, Day Stalker. I have also read two murder mysteries while here trying to stay up with current trends in the writing world. I really don't want too much information though, I still think originality begins and ends with one's own imagination.

I spend the quiet early hours writing and then work on our lot here in Quartzsite during the daylight hours planting trees, raking rocks and housekeeping for the coming summer. I plan to ride the Harley down here once a month to check the motor home and watch our neighbor's place for water leaks and such. Trust me, the cost of utilities here are outrages, but that's another story for my blog!

The sequel to Evil in the Mirror is coming along nicely and so far I am sure it will excite and thrill readers...that's what murder mystery writing is all about.

Best Easter wishes,


Another April Fool's Day Bites The Dust

All right already, enough is enough, butt heads! If you clicked on the title of this blog, you have already discovered I took the liberty of rocketing April Fool's Day into orbit and it now joins all the rest of the space junk.

It wouldn't be so bad if I could just remember April 1st. is the day that I am going to get practical joked on because I can't remember! Everyone I know counts on that fact and waits patiently a whole year to joke the Mittster. You would think they would have better things to do...I know I do, like putting April Fool's Day in orbit.

Have a nice day in spite of me,

Mr. Mittster

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Light As A feather

This mornings e-mail was full of the usual nauseating political bull poop about the awful Dems and horrible Reps selling America up the river for a pittance. Also, there was gun control, gun un-control, drug control and drug un-control. The national news was just as bad with the usual murder and mayhem in every big city in the world.

Well, guess what? Click the title, sit back and watch something that will take your mind off all the crap...after all, you have earned it!