Sharing My Love of the Written Word for the Holidays

I have always been a fan of the written word.

I started reading at a young age, and when my family began to get shaken up, I think I probably escaped into books a lot.

Writing has always come easily to me.  Genre, topic, doesn’t entirely matter to me.  When I get to put words to the page or screen, I find that I am in my element.

For a time, I avoided embracing calling myself a writer.  The written word never lost its importance to me, but I found myself spending far less time honing my craft.

Then, something changed.  In the late 1990’s, an idea popped into my head, and my series The Source Chronicles came to life.

For a short time I managed to land an agent, but Fantasy was not his familiar genre.  So we didn’t really go anywhere.

Then my friend suggested I have a real editor go over my first completed fantasy novel, then titled Seeker of The Source.  She not only helped me turn my novel into a much more coherent, solidly voiced story – she also made me a far better writer and editor.  Her instruction helped me to make some fundamental changes in my approach, and with that a far better writer.

I was fortunate that a friend was editing an anthology of short stories about pirates and magic.  I seized upon this awesome opportunity, and wrote A Treacherous Stone, which was published in Rum and RunestonesWhen the second anthology, Spells and Swashbuckers was being assembled, I created The Vapor Rogues.

Times and technology have changed, and while I continued seeking an agent or publisher, I decided it was time to strike out on my own.  I stated by taking the first year of my main blog post, and published Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy.

I have continued to blog three times a week at The Ramblings of The Titanium Don.  Not long ago I refocused my posts to all address the ideology that consciousness creates reality.  Mondays I present Positivity, Wednesdays I write Pathwalking, and Friday Crossing the Bridges.

Once I had dipped my toe into the waters of self-publishing, I decided to share with the world Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I.  A year later, after having it edited, I shared Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II.

When I wrote The Vapor Rogues for Spells and Swashbucklers, I did a huge amount of worldbuilding.  This was not just Steampunk from an alternate Victorian reality, but a wholly unique world I created.  With all that worldbuilding, I needed to write more.  From that came Clouds of Authority : A Vapor Rogues Novel.

On several occasions, I have participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  This is where you are challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days every November.  I have succeeded several times with this.  One year it was my fantasy/Steampunk Infamy Ascending, another year my technothriller Shades of Mediocrity.

Two of the stories I wrote for NaNoWriMo I have published.  First, my homage to Paulo Coelho, Vortex Pilgrimage, an embellishment of my hikes around Sedona, AZ.  And then a deeply personal story, a humorous narrative of the time in my life when I was recovering from being struck by a car while crossing a street.  The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Trip to the Post Office is all stuff that happened to me, but all the names have been changed.

The written word is my passion, my heart and soul.  I am working on my blog every week, and new stories to share with the world.  With the holidays being upon us, is there a better gift than the written word to share with friends and loved ones?

I hope you enjoy what I present here to you.  Thank you for your support!

 

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What Do I Name This Thing?

Sometimes it takes me a while to find the name.

When I first began work on The Source Chronicles, it was my unnamed Fantasy project.  I began my glossary so I could track the characters, and I called it The Source.  This would, in turn, lead me to find the plot, whereby my mysterious sorcerer was questing to find an ancient something called The Source.  He would be called the Seeker.

Seeker of The Source  would be completed, and I had even acquired an agent to shop it around.  But he was not normally an agent for YA or Fantasy, and after I think two years, we ended our association.  Then it was suggested I hire Lone to edit my work, and my writing would never be the same.

I am a far better writer and editor today because of all I learned from Lone’s edit of Seeker.  Further, since I was already done with Book 2 and starting on Book 3, she suggested I give the overall series a name.  With a suggestion from my best friend Kristin, The Source Chronicles  was born.  Seeker of The Source  became Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I

Lone and I have long since lost touch, but I found an editor for both Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II, and Clouds of Authority, my Steampunk novel (and first book of The Vapor Rogues series).  But for Harbinger, which covers a great deal of characters and time, I am beginning to work with a new editor.  Thus far, I suspect she may also help me to grow as a writer and editor.

In addition to regular blogging over at The Ramblings of the Titanium Don, and editing Harbinger, I have been working on an epic sci-fi adventure.

The Space-Opera with No-Name.

I have been working on this sci-fi opus for more than a year.  I have created an incredible number of characters, worlds, starships, races, and many unique names.  There have been battle scenes, character development, plotting, and both the use and rejection of numerous tropes.  This is the kind of sci-fi I would love to watch on a screen, and it’s a whole lot of fun to write.

Yet after all this time, a name eludes me.  Sure, it took me some time to come up with Seeker’s original name, but I do not recall it taking me this long.  I wait to be inspired, to find the title that will not only excite me, but entice you to want to read it.

Drawing by MJ Blehart

There was a professor of mine in college who said every name an author creates has meaning.  From my own work, I can tell you that this is bullshit.  Certainly there are writers who place meaning in names, and that is a part of their mystique.  But many of us simply create names out of randomness.  That’s how I work, at any rate.

The title of the novel is important.  If it turns out this is going to be a series, or I feel the need to create other stories in the same universe – and I might – the series will need a name as well.  On the one hand, this can be somewhat frustrating.  But on the other hand, this is part of the fun of writing in general.

Eventually I’ll also have to work out cover art, but that won’t be for a while.  So far, I have drawn the top-view of one of the main starships in the series, and I will eventually find an artist to render this better than I can.

A rose by any other name…

Names have power.  How many tales are out there where someone hides their “true name” so as not to give away their power?  It’s an intriguing concept, really, because we humans are almost obsessed with giving things names.

I write because I feel a need, akin to breathing, eating and drinking.  Writing is a part of who I am.  I am signed up for an online group and class to improve how I work and earn as a writer, and will likely post something about that down the line.  There is always work to be done.

I know that eventually I will have a name for this novel.  There is always a name to be found.

Thank you for staying abreast of my work.

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How Do I Earn a Living This Way?

I want to earn a living wage through writing.

Yet for most of my life, I have been told that this is a pipe dream.  Various people have told me that to earn money as an author is tricky at best.  I should be realistic.  It’s important I recognize that I still need to hold down a day job.  Most writers never earn enough to make their living off this.

MJ BlehartI do know a number of other writers who have day jobs.  They do something that earns them their primary salary, and the writing is a side-gig, but still their true passion.  There is no doubt in my mind that to write for money is not easy.

I have had two short stories published in anthologies by a small press.  There are multiple novels I have placed on Amazon in both book and Kindle form, covering the genres of fantasy, sci-fi/Steampunk, humorous autobiographical narrative, and a hard-to-define fiction akin to the work of Paulo Coelho.  I sell a few here and there, but my monthly earnings at best currently might buy me a single meal at a decent restaurant.

Because I firmly believe that Consciousness Creates Reality, I am certain that I can manifest the life I want.  I’ve never been meant to work in an office space.  Frankly, working in an office frequently goes badly for me.  I am simply not a very good drone.

Perfect example.  At a job years ago, they told us that if we had suggestions for improvements to make them.  Well, I did.  They didn’t want to hear it.  Wasn’t long before I was out.

Focus and concentration are required to earn this way.

While it is important to develop tools to better market what I have already published, and to that end I read a bunch and partake in webinars.  But for me, the real matter is maintaining my focus and concentration.  Eyes on the prize, as they say, if I want to get there.

More than once I have consciously created the reality I desired through focus on no other outcome but success at my goal.  I defied odds and manifested my reality.  With real focus and concentration, I can take the thought, feel it out, and act to make it happen.

I am aware this can come across as hippy-dippy, hooky-spooky, new-agey bullshit.  Yet because I have successfully done it before, I know that I can do it again.

The trick is singular focus.  I have to keep my eyes on the prize, and not allow myself to be distracted by what other people think, or my own issues with my abilities and skills.  It’s important that I not allow myself to sabotage myself.

I write my three blog posts to The Ramblings of the Titanium Don weekly.  Further, I intend to work to post to this webpage more frequently as I strive to make more progress as a writer.  To that end, I participated in a webinar today to learn some new skills to make more of my career as a writer, and I am continuing to put the work in to go where I want to go.

Nothing worth having is ever easy.  There are many ways in which this is going to force me out of my comfort zones.  But I know that I can do this.  Thank you for coming along on my travels.

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