Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Writer's S.O.

Hey guys! Read a fancier version of this post over at H2NH ePub now!

Let us consider the writing life. Sitting in a room alone, obsessing over plot, character, settings; rigorously training one's mind to blast word-count into the æther, where it will be picked up by the scattered raven-falcon-vultures that is my readership. Not a lot of time for romance, right? Not going to find an S.O. (which, of course, stands for Significant Other), not under those pitiful circumstances. Come back when you're Brad Pitt, Mr. Writer. Well, apparently there was plenty of time for me (ha-HA! Suck it, singles!) to catch a lady, and now it's time to see if I can maintain my obsessive writing habit in this novel (Get it? Get it?!) circumstances. That is to say: I have a sudden lack of crushing loneliness and feel a sudden rocketing out of soul-grinding spiritual poverty into the lacquered halls and gilded calling cards of couple-hood. What, indeed, are the pros and cons, the pluses and, the bennies and the suckies of writing not-single? (I have added pretentious quotes for your amusement.)


Let's cut to the chase. With a great lady like mine, I can write faster because she is my Motivation. Every book and short story I write is now an investment in a future not entirely devoted to beer and pizza every night. I should write faster and faster and faster, because I'll need steady income to avoid having to go get a Real Job. Real jobs suck the life out of a relationship.

" We have common cause against the night... "

Let's face it: My life is like a sitcom, and I'm playing a writer-character. I do all my writing off-camera, which leaves me plenty of time to trade quips with my mentally agile fiancée, play games with my pals, and drink beer and engage in hijinks, to the delight of all our friends and relations, and the studio audience out in TV land. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I certainly wouldn't go back to "lonely hearts writer tapping away in a silent room". That's just depressing. I'd at least have to own a bookshop before I'd agree to that. At least I'd meet people.

Speaking of meeting people, as a curmudgeon and a misanthrope, Single Dave was in danger of becoming a loner recluse. Not anymore! Now I have more friends than I can shake a stick at, and since my lady is so friendly, she even keeps up with all these Facebook acquaintances I don't have to converse with, then she relates their doings in convenient bite-size sampler nibblets, for my enjoyment. Sooner or later I'll just be able to ignore everybody, letting all communications filter through her. What a time-savings!

This is not to mention all the heart-warming inspiration a proper romance yields. While writing a romantic scene, I can run the lady-thoughts by her and she can tell me if they make sense. It's like having a Mary Sue outside of my own head! Ah...Marty Stu and Mary Sue, 'tis a romance made in story heaven.

Also? Finishing-a-Story Sex.

That last one is probably the best.


Here's where I get in trouble. How does having a sexy lady (well, I might not get in trouble for that part) distract from writing? Let's take it point by point. As my Motivation, she is also irresistable. That can be very distracting to the working writer. I'm trying to get at least 2000 words out a day, but when she's running around being delightful, how can I concentrate on anything but her?

I can hear what you're thinking: "Lame! That's not going to get you into trouble, Dave." Well, just you wait. Because there's also talking about feelings.

" Why love the woman who is your wife? "

Nobody likes to talk about their feelings, but it's even worse for a fast writer: I've got a million characters rolling around my head jabbering about their feelings, and I'm trying to write all those down before they congeal into a sticky mass of bullsh*t and copy-editing. When my sexy lady wants to discuss the state of our relationship, especially when I'm in full "story mode", it can be...disruptive.

And then she's annoyed, and so I'm annoyed, and then I can't write, and my Motivation is angry at me, and we have to solve the problem, and O GOD WHAT WAS I WRITING ABOUT LAST WEEK? So I have to go back and read it all over, and then the story is messed up, and...

Well, that's OK. Good communication makes good relationships.

Another problem is that I write romance, so I've read a lot of romances. That means I'm quick with the romantic language. It's from the heart, but it makes me sound like the star of a romantic comedy, without the rock-hard abs. Nobody goes to a romantic comedy for the dialogue, is what I'm saying, and sometimes she'll call me out: "Is that a story?" IT NEVER IS...but I understand your confusion, my darling.

Also, I feel stupid sitting around drinking beer when I'm engaged.

That last one is probably the worst.

I guess that's not too bad.

" We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, common cause of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul. "
- Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

Thanks for reading!
feel free to comment

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fast Writing 4H: Happy, Hungry, Horny, exHausted

Hey guys! Read a fancier version of this post over at H2NH ePub now!

Want to know how to write fast the daB way? Just use the four H's! I'll add in the comments I assume you, the readers, are making in italics, to wit:

what a great blog


You need a sexy girlfriend! A stable life! You need to get organized, son. You need to have a great office, free of distractions, preferably with a door!

but dave you already have that

Oh, right. Hmm... Oh! Lose the drama. Everybody who makes you sad is your enemy. DESTROY THEM...or ignore them. Turn off Twitter, dammit! GAHHHHH!

but they are my friends

Your only friends are BOOKS, now: YOUR books, the ones you haven't written yet. They want life, and hope, and they want to sell, and give you their money. You are a BOOK-PIMP, now. Get some prostitutes in the form of manuscripts, and bind them between covers.

your metaphor is tortured



Stop eating so much! That is to say, until you've written at least 2000 words, you shouldn't even think about food.

what about beer

No! The only thing you may drink while writing is weak tea of your own creation! No alcohol or sugar. That'll just make you crazy. But caffeine! THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT!

but what if I get too jittery from caffeine overdose

Well, that'll help with the next H. (Not really)


Not celibate, mind. But you know that sexy girlfriend you have? I know you're irresistible to her, and that she, being sexy, is a tempting delicacy, but you write so much faster when you deny yourself the sweet, soft caresses of woman-flesh that are your entire Motivation.

but i like soft sweet caresses

Tough nougat! Nobody said this was going to be easy! You want to rich, famous, stable, and possessed, at a later date, of endless leisure time, right?

yes that is my motivation

Good! So stop caressing until you've written 4000 words!


Wake up earlier! You know you can't write after the sun's gone down, and you want to have "human contact" (including, but not limited to, caresses) in the afternoon, so you're going to have to wake up earlier. Procure an alarm clock on your trusty smart phone, and actually wake up!

but i need my beauty sleep

Get an artist to paint a picture of you for the fly-leaf. Nobody wants to see you, you're an "author". Well, you're GOING TO BE. Or are you?


Good. Now, you've woken up, and you've avoided all the pitfalls discussed earlier, and you're sitting in front of your no-Net writing computer, right?

right what do i do now

Procure this program: Kapow! and use it as a time clock. Prove that you're putting at least 20 hours a week into this thing!

what like some sort of job

GET BACK TO WORK! (You may sleep when you have at least 5000 words.)

Thanks for reading!
feel free to comment

Monday, May 14, 2012

Phase 2: Write Fast, Publish Slow

Two long years...

...but it’s over now. I’m back in America! I’ve been exhausted for the last month, recuperating from the airplane ride and twenty-seven months in the jungles of Thailand doing mysterious things that will be related in more detail in my memoirs when they’re declassified (and/or written).
As I said, it’s over now. My idleness is over. My goose is cooked. My ears are perked up, ready to hear the sweet sounds of my Muse amidst the jabbering of my hideous and untalented contemporaries. You know who you are. I’m back in the saddle, is my point, and the horse is writing, and it is riding toward the hay-filled barn of publishing. In this metaphor, hay is money, and why not? Hay is delicious.

The straw that broke my back— to carry the metaphor out of its natural range—is that Not Writing is Boring. This can be demonstrated mathematically and morally, a delightful fusion. Pose A that Easy Is Boring. Pose B that Writing Is Hard. Pose C that Sex is Fun. We will not use that last Position today, but ‘tis of interest, ‘tis it not? Ergo A+B = Writing Is Fun.
Publishing, on the other hand, is rather dull, but I’ve spent two years learning it. I’ve got both some skills and the knowledge of what skills I don’t have, so, without further Preamble, let’s kick it up a notch. Let’s take H2NH ePub into...lightning’n’thunder...Phase 2.

Let’s Write Fast, Publish Slow.

What Has Come Before

“Write Slow, Publish Slow”

At this point, I had already written and burned My First Million Words and was rolling into the Second Better Million. I was confident in my writing, but I had no idea what I was doing when it came to Publishing. I needed Publishing 101: Absolute Beginner’s Guide. Some helpful links from fellow writers Ben Godby and Jeff Ambrose later, and I’d run across Dean Wesley Smith and his incredibly helpful blog. Read it for yourself!

You can follow my baby-steps through the new world of publishing in my blog collection The First 200 Days.

“Write Fast, Publish Fast”

Basic education done, it was time to get dangerous, so I picked up Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s The Freelancer’s Survival Guide and supplemented it with her ongoing series on her blog. It made me rather dangerous, indeed. Professional dangerous. I sat down and wrote (this will become a theme, cats and kittens, in all the professional achievements to follow) and produced. Not enough, but I produced, at a feverish pace, a big pile of short stories.

Science Fantasy Romance Stories 2011
A Future Darkly
To Another Shore
The Language of Ice Cubes
More of the Sun

The key to Phase One was learning how to publish all this sh*t (in its most awesome connotation). The short stories went around the various markets, but after that I wanted to put them up on sale, both singly and in collections. Since I determined that everybody was just making this up as they went along anyways, I decided to go for it, and learn eBook Formatting. With the generous help of Guido Henkel and Paul Salvette, I was able to cobble together an eBook formatting workflow, and, fortunately, I had fifty things to practice on.

The first attempts looked...OK, I guess. But now I’ve fixed them up, and the second electronic editions look great! Speaking of second editions...

The State of H2NH ePub

It finally happened! After long years of travel, toil and trouble, I’ve got a proper website!

If you were reading this post on the new website, you’d be there by now. If not, go there. I’ll be cross-posting for some months, just to keep things going, but eventually I’ll be using the Blogger blog as a massive archive to link to and putting everything here exclusively where I can control it. As is my custom, I’ll make a fancy blog post about setting up a writer’s blog for newbish types like me. Excuse any lameness while I catch my Wordpress bearings. So, pop over to that website and prepare to experience...

“Write Fast, Publish Slow”

Publish Slow
Now that I know what I’m doing, I don’t have to go crazy on the publishing side. Whatever I write will stay written, so I can bring it out slow and sure, and none of this “second electronic edition” foolishness. I want pretty books, indistinguishable from professionally published books...because they are professional published, by a professional. That is to say: Me. I will have published them.

Cover Art
The first thing I want to improve is my cover art. The key to successful self-publishing is not to be self-conscious, and I am self-conscious about my cover art. It’s not technically that bad...most of it. But it’s not professional, it’s make-do. One day I suppose my many ardent collectors will clamor to own the original cover art made with my own two hands, but here and now my cover art annoys me. It’s good enough for eBooks, but what about

I demand print books. eBooks are cool and all, and I think they will become the trade paperbacks of this new world of publishing, and that’s wonderful, and I can read them on my smart phone: But I want a shelf of print books with my name on them. It’s going to happen, and you can follow along as I suck at it.

Write Fast

“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Twitter.”
I have so much fun on Twitter, but it eats up way too much of my time, which is becoming more and more valuable by the day. I meet so many cool people on Twitter, though...and find so many cool things. I am torn. I am torn. I suppose I could just cut back, right?

My Facebook page is super-restricted just to people I have actually met, and even then it takes too much of my time. I seem to use it mostly for being Political and engaging in humor. Oh, and posting pictures of my lady so everybody is jealous of me. Not that they weren’t already. My new theory of Facebook is just put all that sh*t into my writing, and enjoy life. Or, alternatively: Save up all that manic energy for one grand post a day.

I want this blog to be the only aspect of my Internet life that takes up any time, and thus I am designating Lazy Sunday to be blog day. If I don’t have a new blog post idea, my fancy plan is to go through my posts from my two years archive over at by David Barron [], choose thirty as my Best Of, and refresh them for this new site. Can’t hurt.

Having dispensed with the time-wasters, my task is to write 2000 words a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, excluding Leap Day which I hereby designate “Vacation”. I will wake up in the morning, write that, then go about my other business, and in so doing achieve:

Phase Two
Twenty Books
Define book as “a manuscript of 120,000 words”, so whether that means a full novel, a collection of short novels, a pile of novellas, or a kerbillion short stories...well, whatever. I need twenty of those, and I will have them. That is to say: I will have at least 2,500,000 words in print, posthaste. POSTHASTE, I said!

Thanks for reading!
feel free to comment

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Science Fantasy Romance 10 - Kritarchy

Available at *
Kobo * Sony * Diesel
Barnes & Noble

Collected in
A Future Darkly

For much of an Earth without nations, the roaming Judge-Ships of the Kritarchy are the only law, and Judge Lightner is one of the best. But when a vicious marauding fleet sweeps through the Kritarchy, the Judge finds out just how much the law is worth as he is forced to make one of his own.

before reading
I remember this story as being really, really dark--hence the excellent cover art--the story of a tragic fall from a just society into tyranny in response to outside attacks. Yes, that’s political. Yes, I’m a political scientist. Yes, I was depressed. I also remember that this story got very mixed reviews for content, and that, as a consequence, I avoided reading it. Well, I’ve got to now...

after reading
This story is not just dark, it’s brutal. From the opening to the ending, it does not let up. Violent, tragic, emotional, despairing...nobody wins. I’m reading it, and I’m thinking I was channeling “King Lear” into a very well-constructed (in political science terms) alternate history. But I can definitely see, now that I have an emotional distance from it, where the mixed reviews came from. This is the story you get when a political scientist is pessimistic. This story is not for it for you?

Next Week
Science Up Some Love

Thanks for reading!
feel free to comment
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