An interesting discovery came out of last week’s Nostalgia Con. I attended a panel on Zane Grey, a writer from the early 1900s.

What I didn’t know: He didn’t write Western. All the bookstores I visited over the years put him straight into the Western section. The publishers gave the books typical Western covers. But he wrote Western Romance. His women were reported to be better drawn than the male characters.

In his life, he wrote 9 million words.

That’s on a manual typewriter. He wouldn’t have done ten or twenty drafts like writers do today.

Readers read his descriptions of the locations and visit to see what he’s describing. That’s the depth Dean Wesley Smith talks about.

Since I’ve never read any of his books, I picked up a collection of 22 so I can read, then study his writing.

The writing week:


This was the last day of Nostalgia Con (weird, right?). I picked up an iced coffee from Peet’s to make a travel smoothie, then returned to cycling on Space Dutchman.

At 9:00 I attended “Do You Believe in Magic?” a panel on 1966. Some notes from it:

  • Star Trek rights owners are incredibly protective of the IP. I imagine they realized fairly early that every part of it was going to make them money if they leveraged it right.
  • On the other hand, the IP holders of Batman wanted nothing to do with the 1960s TV series. They thought it was too campy and ignored it for many years. Only a few years ago did they finally recognize that it’s another income stream. Now if publishing would be that smart…

Robert Fuller followed at 10:00. I envisioned that It would be in and out and on my way home after that. I stayed in line until about noon. It was the highlight of the con.

Though I’ve found my con tastes have changed a lot. In years past, I would have roamed the dealers’ tables and spent a fortune. I’d also have collected autographs from every actor. Now, I wanted more panels to attend. I also carefully selected the actor I was going to spend money on to meet.


More cycling on Space Dutchman. One of the reasons I’m not counting words here is that my cycling can make the word count bounce. I’m still actually at the same word count that I was at when I started, though I’ve added and removed words.

But on this round of cycling, it’s apparent that critical voice sneaked in once the characters got on board the Dutchman. Once it sees obvious plot, it likes to aim at it and rush through to the end.

So I didn’t get enough world-building of the Derelict. I turned to a pop-up I already had (from one of the WMG Kickstarter) addressing this type of spaceship. That gave me some ideas to ponder.

I put more words in, and more words came out. The story of my cycling life!


I started on a short story to submit to an open call from a magazine for Hopepunk (a fancy term meaning they want optimistic stories). 

I thought I could do a redraft of a story I’d retired. It was a flash fiction piece about fairies, so too short for pretty much anything. But if I could turn it into a short story…

Critical voice immediately jumped in, saying, “Let’s get this done!”

Made first contact with the story and immediately changed the fantasy element from fairies to a gnome. I couldn’t see it at the time, but critical voice came in with the thought of the redraft. I wanted to do a light, fun story, and that’s not what my 808 words netted me.

Space Dutchman: More cycling to add the Dutchman world-building details. Some come in, some come out.


The Gnome Story: Back on that today for 838. But I feel like I’m spinning my wheels on it. I find myself circling back to write what I’ve already written, as odd as that sounds.

Time Management for Writers: I jump on cycling for that. I think I’ll need several passes to clean up all the repetitions that crept in.


The Gnome Story:  I dumped the 1600+ words from the last two days and redrafted it from scratch. I was just walking outside on a break from the day job and an opening line hit me. Once I had that, I had the character’s voice and the story went in a different direction than the last two days. 808 words (don’t ask me why that number shows up as much as it does. I have no idea!).


This was my admin day, and I’m sticking to it until I get everything done. Hopefully, I can adjust my schedule by the end of the year. I released one of my Al Travers Mystery short stories, Ransom.

Private Investigator Al Travers gets what he wishes for. He sees a movie star at a local restaurant.

Then she disappears. Kidnapped for ransom.

Al races against time to find her before the kidnappers kill her.

An exciting Al Travers mystery short story.

Get a copy!


Also an admin day. I did a refresh of Mask Pretty to put it into the new template. The original blurb needed a lot of work, so I replaced that.

Reeling from the devastating loss of his wife, Rik Vale accepts a job as a fixer for Hollywood’s only alien, Trevi.

Trevi walked out of Roswell and became a movie star. His face stirs the hearts of movie fans. But he harbors a heart-breaking secret, one darker than Rik suspected.

A Writers of the Future Silver Honorable Mention science fiction short story.

Get a copy!

The week’s made me antsy to get Space Dutchman done. It’s so close, and yet, the additions are taking some time. And they must be done before I do the climax or that part of the story will be broken.

I actually despise revision. This might be something coming from my day job, If you don’t have a lot of time to complete a task, why do it in such as way that you have to fix it?