A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Saturday, November 30, 2013

You can pay it forward with two clicks

If you follow and enjoy this blog, you can pay the pleasure forward with only a couple of clicks.

The first click will take to you my Amazon author page:


The second click in the top right corner will register a Like.

The seconds it will take you to do this will show growing interest to Amazon. This in turn will lead to more exposure and the sales that will enable me to produce more of the books you enjoy.

Two clicks. You can do it. And you never know: Lady Luck may like your style and come around to goose you.

Meet the Real Reb MacRath: Part 5

Childish and even ridiculous pleasures also define Reb MacRath.

Let me tell you why I'm smiling now.

On my week off from my main job, I'd been scheduled to work crazy hours at my part-time gig: 10 hours on Black Friday and 8 more today, starting at 6:45 a.m. Both days had been 'locked', meaning that I couldn't trade or give up the hours. Calling out might have meant getting fired. Apparently, I had no way around the loss of all that writing time.

For some reason, my instinct told me to check on Thursday morning. To my surprise, the days no longer showed as locked. I 'advertised' my Saturday shift, not hopeful of anyone jumping at the chance to start work at dawn. But, Friday morning, when I checked, I saw that someone had.

So I get to play Hookey today without hurting anyone. The store won't be affected. And someone who needed the money enough to start work at that hour struck gold. Best of all, though I do lose the money, I remember the childish thrill, years ago, of taking off from school.

What will I do with my day? I began with a cab ride to my favorite Starbucks at 6 a.m. to ensure I got the one table with an electrical outlet. And here I'm enjoying the delinquent delight of rewriting the new Boss MacTavin novel. Around noon, I'll mosey on down to the library to take care of other business. But--hey, this is Hookey day--I'll also take a walk, maybe go to a film, stop to smell a few frostbitten roses--or whatever's in bloom at this time of the year. I'll read. I'll do more roadwork on Action Manifesting. (A day job interviewing's scheduled for Tuesday!) And at home this party animal will do 800 crunches, then savor his favorite oatmeal and watch some Prison Break.

Though films aren't made about days such as this, I'm here to tell you, bubbas: I've got to play Hookey more often in the upfront way I've done. As the kids say these days:


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Drafting: Why More of a Good Thing is Better

For a long time I believed that the third draft was my 'show copy': when the manuscript had lost gross weight and been purged of typos, grammos and infelicities. Beta readers could now see the book in my head. And though I'd continue to fine-tune for months, I regarded the real work as done.

I've done a 180 on this point. The third draft, I now believe, is where I can get down to business. By this draft I'll know if the structure and pacing are sound, if the characters are breathing.But the devil's own work lies ahead of me still and there's no way any reader can envision the book that I have in my head.

From the third draft on, I refer to passes through the novel. For a mystery I'll need a few passes to fine-tune the placement of clues and the advances in detecting. I'll devote another pass to tracking the timeline and another to weaving research into the spots I'd left blank. Then I'll want to make sure the main imagery is well-developed and sustained. In my book Nobility, for instance, colors played a major part: the book begins with the word 'black' and ends with a 'rainbow of colors'. I'll need a slow and careful pass to focus on the transitions.

There's nothing boring to me about the process of rewriting. The first three drafts are brutal work, about as exhausting as digging a ditch. Then the jeweler's art comes into play in the various passes that follow. After three drafts and a half-dozen passes, I can show the work in progress to my beta readers. But, as a perfectionist, I want more fun.

I'll go through the book for more months still, stalking parts that still aren't clear and prose that doesn't crackle. I have at it, committed to making each page a party for the reader.

Why settle for anything less?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A five-star review...from Lebanon

Talk about eye-opening experiences! I'd received a message from a reader who wanted to read and review Southern Scotch. The correspondent lives in Lebanon, though, with no Amazon account to allow me to send her a Kindle gift copy.

Now, at the start of our ebook careers, getting reviews is a serious challenge. Not that long ago, sending out manuscript copies was a process involving both time and expense. But times have changed for the better in some ways. The correspondent was able to read Word documents. So I sent her a Word copy--and two days later this review appeared in Goodreads:


Well, a 5-star review is a wonderful thing. But in this case I also had a strong, direct connection with a reader thousands of miles away. Reviews like this help our sales. But readers like this keep us going--for this sort of connection is why we all write.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Whichamacallit of the...Huh?

John Fowles' highfalutin' phrase 'the relativity of recompense' has stuck in my mind for decades. That's a mighty fancy handle, yes, but the idea behind it is well worth remembering. And it can help you in your life or in the business of writing.

Here's what it means in plain English: While we can't control all that happens, we can adjust our perspective to see the good side of things as they are.

1) You wake up one day, suddenly fifty or sixty, and realize with horror that your dream of writing has fallen by the wayside. Fowles wouldn't have denied the advantages of succeeding while still young. But he would have listed the relative windfalls of succeeding later on in life: You'll have cleared much crap out of your system and be able to bring a rich harvest of life experience to bear upon your work...You'll be driven in powerful ways no twenty-year-old can equal...You'll be far less likely to make fatal mistakes with agents, editors or your fellow writers.
2) You've just quit smoking at age 40. On the one hand you feel justiably proud. On the other, you're tormented by all the times you've failed before and the twenty odd years you spent smoking. Once again, Fowles wouldn't have counseled denial. Yes, it would have been terrific if you'd never started at all or had succeeded the first time you quit. Then again, you've learned something from every prior attempt. You have an arsenal of skills to use against a formidable foe. And today you have something else you wouldn't have had twenty years ago: online support groups you can reach in minutes. One last point: when you were twenty, with a forever before you, you were beaten by the part of you that whispered that you could always quit tomorrow. Today you know that you don't have forever--and that you don't need the pain of failing and starting all over again.

Today Hotmail is down. I went into a funk. But then I did a mental pivot: I now had time to write this post and return to the rewrite of the third Boss MacTavin novel.

Try tipping your own hats today to the Fowles' wondrous Whichamallit of the Huh.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How to Become a Stud Muffin or Yum Muffinette

So here I am writing a new novel about a wild action hero while the damnedest changes seem to be happening within me. While I get high writing about Boss MacTavin--this athlete, Corrector and fighter--I've begun to focus in my daily life on different sorts of courage.

--I'm logging in far more writing hours a week while working in more time for correspondence and social media.
--I've redoubled my efforts to ace my writing goals: to thrill, delight, move, astonish and inspire .
--I'm persisting as never before in my search for a job with a M-F day schedule.
--I'm experimenting with new ways to win ebook visibility and online klout.
--I'm devoting more time to my family and friends.
--I'm proceeding with a bold new plan to nail a set number of goals in one year.

It's all too easy to drift, we all know. Anyone who's tried to quit smoking or drinking or whatnot and failed knows that we usually fail by degrees if we can't keep the wind in our sails. But Stud Muffins and Yum Muffinettes sport the same charged faithful look whether they row or breeze on with good winds. They don't do this when they're in the mood or when they're in the presence of a Major Movie Moment.

No. When they're doing the laundry or cutting the lawn, they've got the same look in their eyes that you'll see when they shooting photos, writing books or lovingly pounding the keys.

The magic word: Congruence. Their lives and their work are cut from the same cloth.

For me, no time for Boss-style flips or brawls with bikers today, not even a roll in the hay with a Yum Muffinette. I'm off on an adventure--at the library.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Meet the Real Reb MacRath Part 4

True confession:

I just learned a lesson about talking shop. One of my strongest supporters had sent me a note to say how fired up he felt about getting--soon--a beta readers copy of the new Boss MacTavin book.

Well, writing does get a bit lonely at times. And at other times, more than a bit. I shot back a cheery note about some live alligators I was wrestling with in the form of technical issues: sustained imagery, rhythm and pacing, etc. He sent back another note of playful exasperation: he had no idea what I meant by these things since he was a musician who read books because he loved reading. He wasn't angry or even upset. But he gave me an epiphany.

If I were to hear him play one day, I wouldn't need to know how long he'd worked on a song's arrangement...or how hard he'd had to train to reach a particular high note...or how he'd altered the song's bridge from major to minor to gain an effect. I'd know when I listened if the song worked for me.

And that's what matters, isn't it? In fact, the less we blather about the creative process, the better. No possible good can come from revealing the number of hours we spent on a book or the extent of our labors. The effort is part of our pact with the Muse. And secrecy should be a part of it too. We may have to pay in blood to make the final product seem natural and effortless.

But, all in all, art's worth the price. And the Muse makes a wonderful mistress.

So...let's all smile and shut the hell up.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Hot Tip for the Serious Readers

My reading interests vary, as do yours, from time to time. I love mysteries, thrillers, adventure...and also literary novels.

I've just finished a terrific contemporary take on the classic Wuthering Heights. And on the strength of this book, I'll be looking for more by this author.

The Book: Bird of Passage.
The Author: Catherine Czerkawska
My review:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hitting the Sweet Spot at Fifty...or Later

My new post on Authors Electric deals with Lawrence Sanders and other famous writers who succeeded later in life. Sanders's strategies may be of special use to some:


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reb MacRath, Action Manifester! Flash Bulletin #3

This flash is another game changer. Nearly six months into this adventure in manifestation, I had an insight that changed me:

The insights and tools I've made use of this far have all worked well: the rotations of five questions, the new 2 to three-day Playbooks, the list of 'inspired actions'...But, without abandoning those, I needed to sharpen my focus. Something to guide, even compel, me to take relentless daily action. Analysis was helpful. And planning was still groovier. But I needed a weapon to take to the field--one whose power would grow with each skirmish. And I needed a way to keep my sense of urgency ALIVE.

I invented the weapon 11/7-11/9 and put it to use 11/10, hacking at enemy hurdles that stand between me and my goals: financial, artistic, personal, physical. And I began with a driving sense of the need for secrecy. This has never been one of my strong points. By nature, I'm inclined to share and answer almost any question. No more. 

Among the things I won't discuss online: anything relating to my 'business office': release dates, numbers of sales, red hot links I use, etc...These things I'll share only with the most trusted friends and supporters

Among the things I will discuss? Oh, Lord, the blog won't die! It'll be livelier than ever here with posts about writing itself, writers I have known, reviews and more.

Timeline: This first version of the weapon has a 1-year timeline that will end 11/09/2014. At the end, I will share the specifics I've held back through the year--including sales. I'll list the goals I set--which I accomplished and where I fell short.

 Keeping it honest: I have one adviser to help me gauge my progress and to keep this on the level. I'll report to her twice a month with actions taken and results.

All will be revealed in November 2014. 

Once I've passed the finish line, I'll share the wealth will all.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Coming Attractions: Next Week!

I know. This blog has seemed almost inactive, with little but touts for the three-day event (11/5-11/7).

But next week this blog will be jumping. You'll  find throughout the week:
1) A summary of the free event, with my own impressions about what makes an event a success.
2) A new Action Manifesting Flash Bulletin, revealing a new strategy that I will implement on 11/15.
3) A review of a novel you really should read.
4) A post that I must keep top Secret.

And...more? I'm never working harder than when I don't seem to be working at all.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's okay to get excited now

Starting tomorrow, for three days, you can download a classic in horror--for free. And it's okay to be a little excited about your not paying a penny for an award-winning novel that's been streamlined and retailored for today. 

It's quicker and clearer. And the ending packs more punch.

The 25th Anniversary Edition of The Suiting has real terror in every stitch. So do get a little excited today...then download for free tomorrow!

Event dates are 11/5-11/7

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Three-Day Free Event: The Suiting!

'One of the 100 most influential horror novels' will be free three days next week:


The Suiting: 25th Anniversary Edition is a streamlined, retailored version of the Stoker Award-winning novel that went on to be optioned for film.

Brad Strickland wrote of this anniversary version:

Twenty-five years ago Kelley Wilde wrote 'The Suiting,' a Stoker-award-winning horror novel that made quite a splash. Now Reb MacRath, the man behind the Kelley Wilde pseudonym, has reissued it in a somewhat revised version. It still packs a terrific punch. You might say it swings a mean--a real mean--bat. As for the story, it is mystical and horrific all at once, engrossing and involving in the same way that Stephen King's work is when King is on his game.

An old horror has come back with a new name and a hot new hair-do. Do your Kindle a favor and bag it for free. My way of thanking you for letting me return under the name Reb MacRath.