And now I’m published!

The World Unknown Review, Vol I

The World Unknown Review, Vol I

Shameless self-marketing post:  One of my noir-ish humorous shorts was chosen for the first volume of The World Unknown Review, with L.S. Engler, editor. Containing 11 short stories and one novella, this new literary review features authors who have an impressive publishing background, as well as those (me) who are just breaking into the business.

My story? Titled The Crucible, this tale is a slice of life featuring an English teacher at an exclusive private school. Distraught with the futility of his efforts, he receives a ray of hope in a promotion to headmaster, only to see…well, you will have to read it for yourself.

If you are a teacher, you can probably relate to this story. If you aren’t, you very well may be one of the characters!

Yes, I’m excited! And you should be, too. Eight clams and some change for the paper version (huzzah for an editor who wanted to make a traditional book!) and just under a dollar for the Kindle version.

If only there was some occasion where you could use a new gift. Hmmm.

Now, back to my happy dance!

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Is winning Nanowrimo your finish line?

I hope not. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Let us look at the facts:

* To ‘win’ all you need to do is write 50,000 words, preferably in novel form, during the month of November.

* Most novels are not exactly 50,000 words long.

There you have it. By all means, don’t quit writing just because I am playing down the fact you won’t really be done on November 30th. Rather, take this as a motivational speech!

Think of what you will have accomplished during the month:

* You will have found the time to write almost every day.

* You will have the bones of a story going. With luck, perhaps even a decent arc.

* People will consider you a writer!

Now, there are a few things to consider:

* Your novel will probably be longer than 50,000 words, meaning you will still need to keep writing in December.

* Your novel is a first draft. There’s a reason why Literary Agents take vacation in December – don’t be one of the thousands of ‘wrimos who send a copy of their manifesto to every agent listed in Writer’s Digest. Plan to revise; expect to edit.

* Once you are done, set your work aside for a month and go do something with family or friends. Your National Book Award and probable Pulitzer will be waiting for you later, I’m sure. No hurry.

Come back to your novel with fresh eyes. Make it February, maybe even March. Don’t be afraid to use the phrase “Did I really write that?” It’s okay. That’s why it is a draft. Change it.

So what am I saying here? Like fine wine, your novel will take some time to mature, get better. And it will. If you let it age properly. So keep writing, and don’t focus on the finish line – focus on the finished novel.

Sending you my best wishes.

D.J. (currently at 35, 058 words and counting…)

Cyber Bullies Must Drink Bad Coffee

I have a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Instant Human – Just Add Coffee.”

For many of us, this implies without the morning jolt of java we are less than civilized. I’m not that bad, but then again, I drink coffee for an hour before I have to interact with others, so who am I to say? Regardless, I try to remember we are all on this planet together, and if you go back far enough, we are all related. Yup – all of us. And while we don’t always treat our relatives as nice as we should, overall most of us know right from wrong and we apologize later, usually over a cup of coffee.

Coffee, it’s like liquid duct tape for the soul.

Cyber bullies are a different story. The anonymity of the online persona allows our brain to relax, and we end up saying things via the Internet we would never say to anyone in person. So what to do if you are one of those bullies? Well, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to stop. What good is it doing you? Unless you actually enjoy hurting another person, you need to stop. If you do enjoy it, you need to stop anyway. (I doubt you will listen to me, in fact – you probably won’t have read this far into the post. But I digress, and somewhat stereotype. Sorry.)

But what if you are the victim of cyber bullies? If they attack your blog, delete them, block them, and report them. Then have a cup of coffee. Whatever you do, don’t take anything they say personally. They could care less about you; they only post rants on other blogs so they can see their own gravitar in print.

As writers, we put ourselves out there through our work. Expect differing opinions as to the quality of your work. That’s okay. Expect some comments to be rational, and others not to be. But if things get out of control, or if the trolls start to go beyond the basic scathing retort – report them. Get a lawyer who is trying to make a name for herself. Imagine being the attorney who successfully took down a few cyber bullies hiding behind a laptop at some green mermaid’s java joint. You could write a book.

Want a well written and researched article on the subject? Check out Kristen Lamb’s blog, here!  And pour yourself a cup of coffee. It might make you a better human. After all, it’s done wonders for me.   I think.

What say you, writer types? And you, too, regular normal people?

The Easiest New Year’s Resolution Yet

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard

English: New Year’s Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever make a new year’s resolution and then two weeks later forget all about it? What? Two days later? Ten minutes? Yikes, at least we can wait until the next commercial break before we throw the diet out the window. We can do better. Right?

 

Write.

 

I checked my 2013 resolutions and found I did okay as a writing blogger and almost okay as a food blogger, but still – no major accomplishment to speak of. Now we are starting 2014. What to do, what to do?

 

I could announce I will finish the edits on my current novel and start to shop it around with the goal of either gaining representation or publishing it myself.

 

I could announce I will start work on a sequel to the novel AND start working on a cookbook.

 

I could announce I will post to both blogs at least once a week. Except the week I am in Cancun, but I digress.

 

or…

 

I can use The Easiest New Year’s Resolution Yet: Be it known that on January 1, 2014, I, D.J. Lutz, with all resolute authority, dignity and possibly even grace, resolve to be better than yesterday.  At something.

 

I’ll try to be a better writer, blogger, person, whatever.  I look at it this way – 364 small resolutions that are successful will mean much more than “not keeping” one or two specific, and most often overstated and grandiose new year’s resolutions.

 

So why don’t we all try this?  Lose the 50 pounds if you want. Go for it. Write ten new novels. You can do it. Stop smoking. Please do that one. But if you want to make a new year’s resolution you have a decent chance of keeping – promise to be better than yesterday. The details will fill themselves in as you go. People will notice.

 

Now, about that diet…

 

Writing with Direction?

You may not have won the big Mega Millions lottery, but you are so very lucky. I just erased the third draft of my diatribe concerning publishing houses and accusations of collusion and price-fixing. On to more pleasant subjects.

Where, exactly, is Witt Kepler going?  Well, a new story arc outline has been completed.  I have also thought of new concepts for future arcs. Overall character goal determined: keep Witt wanting to be the hard-boiled detective, while forcing him to be the modern man. Spoiler alert: you may not agree with some of Witt’s choices in future episodes, but it will be okay, really. Long term goal: produce a podcast of each episode, complete with theme music and sound effects.

That should keep me out of the bars at night.

Thanks to all my subscribers. We have over 50 now! And the Facebook page is starting to generate interest. I must admit, even I am surprised at that one.

Enjoy your weekend. Happy Easter, too, a few days early!

And when you start writing tomorrow, ask yourself – where am I going with this?