How to Keep Writing From Weighing Your Life Down

Fantastic post. Have to share.

Drew Chial

1. DraggingI’ve bloggedat length about how a writer’s life experience can improve their fiction, but I haven’t written on how the reverse is true, how fantasy can improve a writer’s reality. If the responsibility of writing weighs you down use it as an excuse to go outside and do something.

A Life Worth Commenting On

In screenwriting class our professor had us keep a journal, a place to document our fears. It was not a diary. It was a tool for scene building, a method for adding authenticity to atmospheric descriptions. We were to venture into unknown territory and write about it, to find a place that put us on edge, where the adrenaline heightened our senses, so we could chronicle everything we felt.

Turns out a lesbian bar wasn’t that far outside of my comfort zone, not because I was leering at the ladies, but because they seemed fine…

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4 Things You Don’t Know About Traditional Publishing Until You’re In It

Positive reflections from those in the biz (as they say). One day I would like to traditional publish something. Maybe someday.

Carly Watters, Literary Agent

To all you aspiring authors out there doing research about what’s in your future: this post is for you.

It’s hard to know what your traditional publishing path is going to look like until you’re in it. Lucky for you, three of my wonderful authors (with books coming out this summer) share their wisdom about what the publishing process has been like for them. Read on for the specifics about patience, publicity and more…

faking perfect mechanicalFrom Rebecca Phillips, author of forthcoming FAKING PERFECT (Kensington Teen 2015)

I didn’t anticipate the incredible amount of time and detail involved in traditional publishing. You have all these different people working with you to make your book the best it can be. It takes a long time, and you need a lot of patience, but it’s an amazing experience overall.

SecretsLakeRoad_cover_hi resFrom Karen Katchur, author of forthcoming THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne Books 2015)


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It’s been awhile… (6/7/15)

It has been some time since I wrote anything. The book reviews and author interview of the past week were scheduled several weeks earlier as part of a blog tour I participated in. I swear I have not been completely idle. I managed to catch up on several weeks of posts by the lovely people I follow, leaving comments/likes and reblogging a few that I found particularly useful to share.

I have managed to finish the first draft and first revision run through of my novella based on a freaky dream I had over a month ago. Now is the time to put it away and come back to it in a few weeks. Some elements nag at me a little but I need to wait and see if it is just jitters over sharing my work with anyone else. It took me YEARS to share my novel I published last year.

I have engaged in collecting pictures/quotes and links from writer groups I joined on Facebook. I wonder if my phone is going to fill up on pictures or books I have downloaded to it. I have collected at least 8 books for my To Be Read pile that I hope to get to over a campfire some evening this summer.

I have been highly active with my son’s 10U (aged 10 and under) baseball league team. I have been acting as assistant coach during practices and third base coach during games. It has been a wonderful experience. The kids have taught me a lot about myself and how to interact with my son. This Fatherhood gig never ceases to amaze me or teach me new lessons.

I have completed several Fiverr gigs, but thinking that freelancing editing is not going to make me money to supplement my writing or my day job. All it is doing is taking precious time away from my own creative pursuits with not enough return on investment. Elance, and its new name Upwork, have both proven to be a bust and a waste of time. It seems the people posting jobs have no idea the time investment to provide what they are asking for. Seriously, who accepts $50 to ghostwrite 30K words you are never able to claim any credit for? Especially when it needs to be published/polished and ready for publication to get paid. If I put that kind of time into it, I am going to publish it under my own name and collect all the royalties for myself. I don’t care if it is erotica/romance, which doesn’t normally appeal to me as something to write. I am more of a Science Fiction/Fantasy kind of guy. Even so, $50 or even some of the $80 ones are not worth submitting ove 30K published and polished words. More power to the ones that are willing to take those jobs.

To that end, I have the beginnings of 2 more manuscripts that I need to research, outline and start writing. Going to be a busy summer as hopefully I will have my second book back from the editors in the next few weeks. Then it will be time for a round of beta readers to polish it off and get some feedback before launching it. I still need to get a cover designed and write a blurb.

The last few weeks have also seen my wife’s baby brother graduate High School. To have watched him grow over the past 5 years has been a wonderful experience. He is hilarious and very talented. He leaves in about 3 weeks for an acting school in Los Angeles. One day he is going to star in major movies.

This past Thursday contained a new first for me. I saw my first professional baseball game live and in person. Remember, I am not a sports person so while baseball is America’s pastime, this should not come as a shock to any of my readers. My son earned a ticket for meeting his reading goals this year at school. The team is a Class A affiliate so it wasn’t true major league baseball. However, the smaller stadium and more family friendly atmosphere made for some entertaining hi-jinks in between innings. We had a lot of fun and got home much later than I would have preferred since I had to be at my day job early Friday morning. It was worth it to spend the time with my son.

This weekend began our summer of camping and last night I had my first beer around the campfire at the lake lot we spend our summers on. What a great way to reconnect with some of my extended family. Laughs were shared by all.

I suppose it is time to wrap up my day at the office. Thanks for sticking around through my absence folks. I will try to have something more for you to read in the near future. In the meantime, keep fighting the fight, whatever your personal battles may be.

Day Job to Writing

Great tips. I use multiple documents all tagged and filed in on a jump drive. I simply hate to write anything by hand except poetry. Mainly because my handwriting is atrocious. Thanks William.

William Lloyd (Author)

Today is my last day of work before I get to sit down for five days and work on my epic fantasy. I wanted to use this post as a way to share some neat outlining tricks I’ve recently started trying out. Some of these have made me write constantly for eight to ten hours each day because I have a goal and a determination to meet them. I hope these will help you guys and just remember there is no true way to write a story. I’m just sharing what I’ve found is easier for me.

1. The Timeline



My timeline has all the chapters and events in them. Right now, I have twenty chapters outlined on the novel, but I have added in back story chapters for a few characters. This has helped me to know and love my characters. Also, don’t be afraid to change your timeline…

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Book Review – The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova

Redemption of Tour

“The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova”
by Lloyd Lofthouse

Rating 3/5 Stars

First I would like to thank Virtual Author Book Tours and the author, Lloyd Lofthouse, for this book.

In “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova” Lloyd takes us to a night club in the seedy late 80s. Don, the title character, is raised in a near Mafioso style family who trained him in the art of Lothario. A Lothario is a serial seduction artist, similar to the historical figure who’s name they borrow, Giacomo Casanova. The novel opens with the death of Jonah Casanova, the de facto patriarch of the current generation. Suspicion follows in the wake of more deaths and disappearances around the southern California hot spot, the Aphrodisiac Academe. Don must keep himself out of jail and an early grave as attempts are made on his life. Seduction and suspense mix to create an exciting cocktail.

I enjoyed this work but there were some issues for me. It starts off very strong with the sexual references and at first I thought it was going to turn into an erotica. Those scenes do back off considerably which would make the rest of the book easier for those who are offended or uncomfortable. There are strong elements and references to domestic abuse throughout the book, but Don is portrayed more as a champion for women’s defense. He seems to “love” each of his conquests, in his own way, which makes him more appealing than he would normally come across for me. While there were a few typographical/grammatical errors, none were severe enough to really trip up the experience.

The plot reminds me a little of Godfather meets Studio 54 and on the cover was very appealing. I was a little young for the club scene during the timeframe of the book, but Lloyd gives a clear and believable picture. His experiences as a Vietnam Veteran, a school teacher, and a maitre d of a night club all prepared him for the characters and environs he wrote about.

To wrap up this little review, Anyone with at least a mild tolerance for some graphic scenes and language will easily get through this book. The action, once rolling, builds like a steamroller to a real surprise ending. To find out, you will have to read the book.

Interview with Lloyd Lofthouse, Author

Lloyd Lofthouse Redemption of Don Juan Casanova

Today I get the pleasure of interviewing the author of the new book, The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova, Lloyd Lofthouse. Mr. Lofthouse, let me start by saying thank you for your service to this country. It is always an honor to meet a veteran such as yourself. In the format of my previous interview, my comments are in Green and Mr. Lofthouse will be Blue.

Let’s dive right in shall we? Your latest work, tell us a little about it.

I’ve always enjoyed reading murder mysteries. For instance, I’m a fan of Dick Francis (I’ve read most of his work), Dan Brown, Lee Child, James Patterson, John Grisham, David Baldacci, James Lee Burke (my favorite), Patricia Cornwell, Richard North Patterson, Dashiell Hammett, and Tony Hillerman (I’ve read all of his novels and even the last one written by his daughter after his death), and this is my short list.

When I decided to write my own murder mystery, “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova,” I borrowed from my experience as a maître d’ in a large night club in the early 1980s.  The Aphrodisiac Academy is modeled after the Red Onion (the chain went out of business in the 1990s, because a few bartenders were caught by undercover police selling cocaine in the club—I was gone by then but borrowed that event and added it to the novel). But when I was still working there, I caught a newly hired bouncer in the bathroom off the lobby being paid off by a drug dealer. I reported what I saw to the club’s general manager and I never saw that bouncer again. For a few days after that, I expected to get shot down when I left my shift after midnight and drove home.

I also used my own mother and older brother to help develop the main character’s mother and older brother. That doesn’t mean they are exactly like my mother and older brother. In fact, the pimp we meet early in the story was modeled after a real pimp who did drive out of Beverly Hills to our club to avoid his enemies, and that pimp, who was not murdered, was confronted by the club’s head bouncer when he was caught abusing one of his girls in the Red Onion’s parking lot. I was there when our head bouncer, who had a black belt, knocked him down and warned him to never bring his girls to the club again.

What brought you to decide to write your first book? Describe the feeling the first time you held a printed copy of your own work.

Forty years slipped by from the moment I decided I wanted to write my first book length manuscript—that still isn’t published—and holding the paperback of my twelfth manuscript and first novel, My Splendid Concubine, a work that took nearly nine years to research, write and complete.

What caused me to want to be a writer was listening to Ray Bradbury in 1968 when he came to speak at the college I was attending with financial help from the Vietnam G.I. Bill. It was my first year of college and two years later I had completed that first manuscript that found an agent and an interested publisher, who took a year to make the decision to go with another writer, due to a budget that only allowed for one new writer a year.

The first time I held that paperback for My Splendid Concubine, if I had any feelings, it was mentally holding my breath as I waited for readers I didn’t know, to enjoy the story. That was almost seven years ago and now the novel has more than 100 reviews on Amazon—a few negative and many positive—and more reviews on other sites. The novel has also picked up a number of literary awards through the years.

Surprisingly, even after having published four books, I still feel the same way every time one comes out—that sensation of waiting and mentally holding my breath to discover if someone I don’t know enjoyed reading the story.

 Where does your inspiration come from for your books?

The inspiration for the stories I write come from many places: for instance, my imagination and the experiences I’ve had through this journey we call life. That journey also includes the thousands of books I’ve read and films I’ve seen.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think what makes for a good story is the collision of characters dealing with what life throws at them, and how they handle the conflicts—internal and external—that arrive like unexpected mental and physical tsunamis and earthquakes.

What has writing taught you about yourself?

Sticking with writing and facing hundreds and maybe thousands of rejections for more than forty years taught me that if you want a chance to achieve your goals and dreams you cannot give up. Once you stop, you’ve lost. You might stumble once in a while and even fall down but you have to get back up and continue the journey that you started. I’ve been falling and picking myself up for decades in my long journey. I hope I never arrive at that final destination. If you fall in love with writing, that probably helps.

Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication? Did you seek out agents or did you go straight to publishing houses?

My journey to publication was a long one, and during that journey I had more than one agent and had more than one manuscript considered seriously but always in the end rejected. I don’t know exactly how many rejections there have been. For instance, back in the 1980s, one of the early agents managed to get the manuscript for my second novel, Running with the Enemy (Dec. 2013), in front of a senior editor at Random House, who rejected the novel after writing that he enjoyed the story, but no one was publishing stories about the Vietnam war anymore, because the market was glutted and readers weren’t buying. That manuscript sat on a shelf for about 25 years before I dusted it off, revised it, had it edited and indie published it. Now that I’ve had some success as an indie author I no longer look for agents or submit my work to publishers.

I see that you were a teacher for 30 years, do you think that has helped you in your writing? How?

Yes, I think being a teacher did help me as a writer. For most of those thirty years I taught English literature and grammar and that helped me discover more about plot, character, conflict, theme and improve my own grammar and mechanics skills. I think that teaching something is the best way to learn it.

In addition, for seven years I was the advisor teacher of a high school journalism class that produced an award winning student generated high school newspaper. I think that working with hundreds of high school journalists and reading their work also sharpened my eye for what grabs the attention of most readers.

Any advice that you would give to fellow writers?

The only advice I want to offer is to never give up if writing is your passion, and do all you can to improve your skills. It’s nice to have talent but talent isn’t enough for most of us when it comes to writing. Writing is a craft and a craft can be learned. That’s why, after Ray Bradbury motivated me to change my goals in college, I changed my major from architecture/urban planning to journalism for the BA, attended workshops out of UCLA’s writing extension program for seven years, and eventually earned an MFA in writing part time through two other universities over a period of several more years. And read. Read a lot. Writers should be readers who have experienced as much life as possible because through life we discover, learn and grow.

Thank you much for your time Mr. Lofthouse.

 You are welcome, and thank you for having me on your Blog as a guest author.

Here you can find a list of links where you can connect with Lloyd Lofthouse. Stay tuned because tomorrow I will have a review of his latest book, “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova”.