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Precious Time April 5, 2013

Posted by Tom Wells in Tom's Posts.
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My kids were out of school for spring break. I took time off from work and we spent the week doing family time. There were bike rides, movies, and at ages 9 & 13, our kids had never been to a mall. So we did all of these things, plus Netflix and pitching in together for yard work and all of the things that makes the start of spring a fun time of the year. Not having to face an alarm clock the next morning allowed my wife and I to stay up longer and spend our own time together that regular work weeks don’t afford. I did do a little writing, but it was much more of a family week.

What has made that week spent together feel more special is the disheartening news that seems to be everywhere right now. A coworker’s daughter died suddenly while attending UC Santa Barbara last month. My nephew who became a quadriplegic in a tragic accident a number of years ago was hospitalized for pneumonia and his outlook was grim for a while (thankfully the signs of recovery are encouraging now). I recently attended a workshop held by David Farland who now reports that his son is in a coma after a skiing accident. These are just the personal stories. Add the tragedies in Newtown and other news from the world and you have a constant reminder of what a precious gift our families are.

With the bad news seeming to pile on, I am so happy to have the chance to appreciate the wonderful time I had with my wife and kids last week. And my prayers go those who are facing the cruel challenges that no one should have to face.

Short Story Master’s Assignment Completed March 13, 2013

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I have completed my new short story Timeless Mission (use the link).

Mission La Purisima, Lompoc CA

Mission La Purisima, Lompoc CA

 

The story is set at Mission La Purisima in Lompoc, California.  La Purisima is the only mission in California that remains as it was in the 1820’s.  The feeling that you have been transported back in time when visiting was the inspiration for my story.

Workshop Day Two March 2, 2013

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I could have stayed home with my wonderful family this week satisfied my writing.

I chose to burn up my frequent flyer miles and contend with the pains of traveling alone to come here and re-learn that I should never be satisfied with my writing.  I have met some talented folks aside from learning from a very giving best-selling author.  It hasn’t been easy.  There is the challenge to learn more about the craft.  There is the challenge of becoming more than an anonymous presence on the web.  There is the challenge to write something that you know will be looked at and critiqued by someone who does this sort of thing for a very good living.

Challenge accepted.  I will walk away from this experience with a refreshed conviction to never be satisfied with my writing.  Not in a self-destruction way of dissatisfaction, but in a growth way of seeking unattainable perfection.   The Mormons of Utah are misunderstood for having a base conviction of becoming god-like.  It sounds maniacal to the outside world.  But humility is the cornerstone of this goal and no true Mormon believes they will ever become anything close to god-like; they just believe that striving for anything less is setting the bar too low.

I therefore will strive for perfection in my writing knowing I can never achieve it, and that is what I am satisfied knowing.

First Day of Workshop Complete March 1, 2013

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I have been through my first day of the Short Fiction Masters workshop.  There was a lot to take in.  I can’t say that there was anything said that I haven’t already intuitively understood, but there has been a wealth of details into the main themes of writing short fiction learned.  I’m learning much more about the nuts and bolts of bringing a story to life and structuring it in a way to lead the reader slowly into the tale I want to put forth.

I have the start of a new story now that has new twists I hadn’t imagined before arriving here.  Now its on with day 2.

Big Adventure Starts Today February 27, 2013

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I’m going to Utah today to attend a Short Fiction Master’s class taught by multiple award winning and best selling author, and Writers of the Future (WOTF) coordinating judge, David Farland.  It’s exciting and nerve racking at the same time.  I fly to Salt Lake City today and start the class tomorrow morning.  Twelve hour days are promised, which for an architect, are baby days around a project crunch time.  It will be a great chance to learn more about my writing. I have to admit that I have that little fear of ending up like one of those joke contestants on American Idol.  I may impress my family and friends with my stories, but now I am going to be personally screened by on of the biggest names in writing.

Preparation for the class has been to brainstorm a story that hasn’t been written yet.  Since Dave is a WOTF judge, whatever story I do write won’t be submitted to the contest.  That has left me free to try a short story idea I have had for years but never actually started.  There is a California mission in Lompoc California that is the only original Spanish mission that has been preserved in a remote setting without having a town or city built around it.  The entire place is like a moment in time frozen as it was in the 1830’s.  Visiting this place is as close to time travel as one could really experience.  So naturally I have a sort of Gentlemen in King Arthur’s Court kind of story idea that I haven’t penned.  I’ve done a little research and tomorrow it gets started.  Will I do the American Idol equivalent of getting up on stage and making a fool of myself? Or will I get the equivalent of a pass to the big show, with a nod of encouragement for the writing I do?

Of course I can’ t dwell on the worst imaginings, I can only pass the time trying to distract myself from the nervousness.  I do have a story to finish for WOTF.

Preserving Humanity Now Available On Smashwords February 23, 2013

Posted by Tom Wells in News, Publications.
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Preserving Humanity is now available at Smashwords.com  It is offered there for $1.49, but for anyone who reads this blog, please use the coupon code WD29U when purchasing the book and you will get it for free.

I’m waiting now for Smashwords premium category acceptance to then get a ISBN number for the book before taking it to the Kindle market too. Smashwords does offer a kindle version, they are a great site for books.  But Amazon has been a pioneer in the e-book business starting with creating their own device, so having a book up live there is a huge market that can’t be ignored.

So if you have been wondering what happens after Mother, go to Smashwords now and get your free version of Preserving Humanity.

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/288667

The Cover for my next e-book

The Cover for my next e-book

Comming Very Soon February 20, 2013

Posted by Tom Wells in News, Publications.
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Two years ago I set out to write a story about how people could be sent out to explore the stars and how the ones they left behind on Earth could forget or not know they left.  The working titles for the book were, “Discoveries” and “The Way of the Leaving” and “Leaving Sol.” But that how was a big story.  99.9% of my next book is about the how and only 00.1% is about the leaving.  So I decided a new title was in order and here it is, coming as soon as I can get Smashwords to accept my format and give me an ISBN number for the novel:

The Cover for my next e-book

The Cover for my next e-book

Not Suprised, but,,, February 13, 2013

Posted by Tom Wells in Introductions.
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I’m not surprised to find out today that my Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest entry didn’t make it past the first round, but that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed.  It was a weird experience this morning though.  When the results first went up, I clicked on the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror link to see the results of my entry category.  My name wasn’t on the list and my heart sank.  Then I noticed that the names of books were odd. Then I noticed I was looking at the Mystery/Thriller list.  I went back to the links and clicked on the Sci Fi link again and the Mystery list came up.  So the Amazon link was off and my hopes went back up. But the initial sting was still there, so when the link was fixed, and my name was still not listed, the initial crush of disappointment had subsided by then.

So the downside is that my pitch didn’t win, but I now have a book ready for publishing.  I’m going to put some artwork together and format the book and make it available on Amazon and Smashwords. For those of you visiting my blog after reading the free Kindle version of Mother, you may be happy to learn that this book will be the expanded version of my original story, there is a lot more Seeker One in this story.  I hope to have it up  before the end of March.

Editing January 31, 2013

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Editing is a critical part of story writing. It comes after the story has been written, but it is a lot like prep work for painting a room. To do it right, before you can paint you need to remove all of the furniture, then remove all of the outlet and switch plates. The window coverings and the hardware must go with decorations. Then you have to tape off everything and cover the floor. After a good two hours of work, the room looks like hell and you’re tired. But then the paint goes on. With just a roller and a brush the room is transformed in less than half the time it took to prep the room.

Editing is kind of like the painting process in reverse for me. I can sit down and write a story and lose myself in the writing for hours. It’s almost like I came into a room and painted everything, the furniture, the outlets, the windows and the floor. Then I get to the editing part. It takes careful reading while looking for more than grammar, punctuation and spelling. I’m looking to see how the sentences flow into one another and for inconsistencies from one part to another. I’m removing the furniture from the room.

Sample of preping my room for the paint job it already has.

While I’m removing the furniture from the story, I’m red-marking it. Marking down those repeated, misplaced, and auto corrected words. I’m striking out unnecessary sentences and I’m writing full new passages in the margins and when I’m done I’ve done the tape work for my paint job. Then comes the tedious part of going back to the computer and editing the file with the remarks. I highlight as I go to be sure I get everything and finally I have the draft that I feel is ready to give out to readers for their input.

My room is painted and it looks great with its new paint. Readers will often give me good advice on rearranging the furniture but the paint job is still there same as it was before I did my reverse pre-work. I just had the chance to do the fun part before the tedious part.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest Entered January 20, 2013

Posted by Tom Wells in News, Submissions.
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I have now officially entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  The first round of judging happens with my 300 word pitch. There seems to be an air of anominity required for the entry so I don’t know how much to talk about the entry yet.  Let’s just say that it is the novel version of the two short stories that I have talked about expanding upon before.  I will know by mid-Febuary if the pitch has been good enough to get the novel into the second round.  If it hasn’t, I will then be publishing the novel on Amazon and Smashwords by March.  If the pitch has been strong enough, I will be elated at the ride the story then takes.

Here’s hoping for that next round.