Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Weekend Amongst My People

Over the wekend I attended the South Dakota festival of books. I had a wonderful time. Imagine Comicon for book nerds. The city of Deadwood was overrun with writers of all types, teachers, librarians, and all sorts of people who just love a good book. There were wonderful seminars on all aspects of writing. I just wish I could have gone to them all but choices had to be made.

My favorite part was mingling and getting one on one time with authors at all stages of their careers and really talking with them about what I can expect as my own progresses. This is why I love the literary world. Unlike hollywood, most authors don’t look at you as a threat or competition. They’re more than willing to give a struggling writer as much helpful advice as possible. There’s a camaraderie as if they’re taking you into the fold.

It was great talking to successful writers such as Craig Johnson, the Author of the Walt Longmire mysteries. The series of books on which the T.V. show Longmire is based. If anyone has a right to be a bit cocky right now it’s him, yet he’s never too busy to shake your hand and chat with you a bit. He seems to love to encourage fledgling writers and was quick to tell me how terrible his first draft was.

I also met with Sandra Brannan, author of the Liv Bergen mystery series. She gave a wonderful early morning talk on writing great villains that really got me thinking. Imagine my surprise when later that day, while sitting having a pipe and digesting everything I had learned, someone taps me on the shoulder to say hello and I look up to see Mrs. Brannan. It was a great feeling to be recognized by a successful author. I’m sorry to say I haven’t read any of her work yet but you can bet I’ll be rectifying that soon.

I hadn’t heard of Rhiannon Frater, but the topics of her talks combined with the fact that she’s quite an attractive woman certainly had me intrigued. The first talk I attended was called, “Zombies & Vampires: The Lure of Fantasy”. Later she was on a panel called, “It’s the End of The World As We Know It”. Both talks were awesome and she had some great theories on the appeal of zombies, vampires, and things that go bump in the night. I picked up the first book in her, “As the World Dies” trilogy, read the first page, and had a hard time putting it down long enough to pay for it.

I also enjoyed wandering the exhibition hall and talking to writers who weren’t quite as famous but seem to be well on their way. In particular, I enjoyed talking to Thomas Gondolfi. He is downright hilarious and just the back cover of his book “Toy Wars” had me laughing so hard I had to buy it. Also, any man in a kilt has got to be a good guy.

I am eagerly looking forward to next time. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to set up a table of my own. I suppose the only way for that to happen is for me to get off here and do some writing.


Craig Johnson
Sandra Brannan
Rhiannon Frater




Filed under Writing

Finally On Two Wheels

Yes, I’ve been gone again. At this point we should probably just accept this as the norm and move on. But never fear. Just because I haven’t been posting regularly doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. As a matter of fact I have been reasonably productive as of late, particularly in the last month or so.

Last month I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. I bought a motorcycle. Call it a mid-life crisis if you must but it’s probaby the best purchase I’ve ever made; particularly where my writing is concerned. I was beginning to fear my writing was stagnating, mainly due to a lack of new experiences. Now that I’m up on two wheels, I’m free to explore and seek out adventure as I please.

More importantly, it helps me clear my head, something anyone who knows me will tell you I have a real problem with. On the bike, there is no time to worry about the petty problems of everyday life. You’re too busy watching the road and looking for possible hazards while at the same time enjoyng the ride. Meanwhile, the subconscious is given free reign. I didn’t even realize what was happening until after a ride I sat down at my desk and was flooded with fresh ideas. I actually had to make a file for all the ideas I didn’t want to lose yet don’t have the time to pursue just now.

I wish I had bought a bike years ago.

It’s also nice getting almost 50 mpg.


She may not be much, but she’s all mine.

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Filed under Writing