2015 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

“Two coyotes looking for afterbirths…”

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“Two coyotes looking for afterbirths trotted through a pasture to the east, moving through fluid grass, the sun backlighting their fur in such a way that they appeared to have silver linings.”–from Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Proulx, in That Old Ace in the Hole.
coyote-stalk-by-wildphotons

When people argue about writing for pleasure or writing for profit or writing for the audience, I think about sentences like that. People writing to capture truth, to lay it out to see if it moves you the way it moved them. To see if it leaves you vulnerable.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAYQjB0&url=https%3A%2F%2Fhoundwelfare.wordpress.com%2Ftag%2Fcoyote-population%2F&ei=avsiVcm9B8PyoASNtoG4CA&psig=AFQjCNH-uTAryliKPWfkhHZL23QbdNOL8A&ust=1428441631301951

I’m in my own words now.

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Last night, someone close to me who is reading Jumping said to me that so far Chapter 12 is his favorite, the most beautifully written.

It’s a description of one of the main characters–Miles, Duncan Robert’s uncle and a fellow jumper–and I’d thrown it in at the request of my editor, who wanted more background on Miles to explain the later anti-war stance he takes into the Void, into an epic battle scene.

I wrote that chapter straight as it came to me, not questioning it, not needing to edit it.  My editor didn’t touch it, either.

Now I see my words differently, because of what my friend said.

I’m in my own words now, not someone else’s. I haven’t been reading much since I’ve been writing.  I don’t think I was supposed to be reading, so I could steep in my own words for a change, after a lifetime of reading–since I was a child and won contests for reading the most books. I’d never let go of the words of others as the way, not seeing the power of my own words to set a life by.

No matter what happens to Jumping out there in the world, I see myself and my words differently.

I hope readers keep talking to me.

 

Like Jumping on Goodreads–or not

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Goodreads-badge-add-plus

The largest site for readers and book recommendations.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21543939-jumping?ac=1

It’s a really humbling proposition to see your book go up among a sea of other books and wonder about its ability to swim.  Was I a good teacher?  Anne Lamott says if it’s good enough, it’ll make it.  Now, rather than wondering if you’re in the smaller group of people who will actually finish a book and find a publisher, you’re back in a large group of writers who’ve all accomplished what you’ve accomplished.  So, you try to provide water wings, life preservers, and even cpr to keep this vessel holding what you believe is the best of you moving forward.  The further I extend this swimming metaphor, the harder it is to abandon it!

You’ll have to join Goodreads to recommend, review, or rate the book.  I’ve been a member for a while because I like sites that bring readers and books together.  Also, it’s an easy way to know what’s out there and what’s good, based on reader opinions.  And I like that you can ask any author (like Anne Lamott and many other famous ones) questions, and they answer.  I just agreed to answer questions, too.  So, use your own judgement.

 

People are getting their books–whoa!

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Sometimes I forget how and where and why I even wrote this book–after all, I wrote it more than two years ago and have written a few more since then–and now it’s out there.  Actually, that was the first question of the Examiner interviewer–how did I come to write it.

I said I wrote it for two reasons: (1) I took a creative writing class at Inprint, a great writing program in Houston.  There were eleven of us in the class, an engineer, a physicist, a lawyer, a teacher, a student, etc.  What inspired me is that they always wanted me to read first, to see what happened next.  I wrote the intro to the book in that class, but I didn’t know it.  (2) Every psychic I’ve seen, and that would be about a half dozen in the past decade, generally done with a group for fun, would ask me where my book was. Not that psychics necessarily have a corner on the truth, but by the time the sixth one asks you, you begin to wonder.

Ultimately, writing is such a private act, there’s still something shocking about it going public, even when you know it’s coming.  I wrote it every night after work is the how.  Generally in my second-floor Albuquerque apartment (corner of Broadway and Coal) is the where, staring out the window at downtown whenever I paused in my typing.  The real answer to why is that it came and it kept coming, every time I sat down to write and sometimes in between.  It still comes.  I keep a notebook with me, to catch it.

Now I feel as if I’m in that dream where you’re standing naked in front of a clothed crowd, no where to run, no where to hide.  Even though this must have always been the goal, I’m still a little freaked out to have achieved it.  I guess I’ve jumped.

 

A box came

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A few days ago, the FedEx truck pulled into the driveway, and the guy got out in the pouring rain (yes, in Mountainair, NM) to deliver a box.  I wasn’t expecting anything and opened it quickly without looking at the return address.  It was my book.  Finally, after a year (felt like ten) of waiting, twenty copies of my book arrived to shock me into awareness that this book will really be going out into the world, with my name on it.

I still find it hard to believe.

People tell me Amazon, where the book has been on pre-order for weeks, is sending out notices to people that they’re shipping the book before its official release on Nov 1.

I still find it hard to believe.

Today, I did my first interview (written) for examiner.com, a news/popular entertainment website with 8 million monthly views, arranged by my marketing manager @ Hampton Roads Publishing.  It won’t be posted until after Nov 1.

I still find it hard to believe.

I’ve been writing this series of books–I’m now on book five–since 2013.  If you get out of their way, as the saying goes, they practically write themselves.  The first book won the 2014 Hampton Roads Next Best Fiction Writer contest.

I still find it hard to believe.

I wonder if other first-time authors feel this way?