Monday, December 10, 2012

Eight in One...

I think it's been a big year.

Just found out that "Leading the Way: Maximizing Your Potential as a Martial Arts Instructor" by the late Tim Bown is out.  Along with "Campfire Tales From Hell."  That makes two books I edited this year.  "Force Decisions" came out as well, and "Scaling Force," the collaboration with Lawrence Kane.  The "Facing Violence" DVD came out in May.

On the e-book front, the fifth volume of the blog compilation; "Talking Them Through: Crisis Communication with the Mentally Ill and Emotionally Disturbed;" and "Horrible Stories I told My Children" under the pseudonym of R.A. Ellis came out.

One book written
One Collaboration
Two books  edited
Three e-books

All in one year.
2013 should have two DVDs ("Logic of Violence" and "Joint Locks" are already filmed and in the editing process)
The print version of "Drills" from YMAA
Second edition of "Violence: a Writer's Guide" (currently out to the first readers)
The Conflict Communications Manual
And Kami is considering releasing some of my fiction through her Wyrd Goat Press.

Don't now if I can keep this up but... damn.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Promo stuff

I've been putting together promotional stuff lately.  It can be crazy-making.  All those little details, balancing elements, learning how the pros do it so that I can look more professional, or at least break the rules with full knowledge.  It's a whole new skill set and the learning goes on and on and on and on ....


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


So, I had a meeting with my Hungarian publisher in Budapest Friday...

You have no idea how cool it is to write that.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I'm not actually blocked.  I don't get writer's block.  Writing, in a lot of ways is like any other unpleasant chore.  You sit down and do it.  If I know what I want to say (and that's the norm) I can easily kick out 2000 words in a morning.  If I know what I want to say and I'm excited about it, I've broken 10k words in a day.

I'm not blocked, I just don't want to.  Brought it up with K today and she, in some subtle way, pointed out that my last couple of writing experiences have been less than pleasant.  Maybe horrible.

Don't want to be too specific.  The involved people will easily recognize themselves but--

My most heavily, professionally edited book came out a few months ago.  The writing process was easy, the editing process was hell.  Months and months of just annoying argument and battle...and I am still cataloging all of the stupid editing, spelling and grammar mistakes in it.  Up to eighty and I am only about halfway through.  Not just little stuff, like comma placement-- and entire chapter is mis-titled; one of the contributors names is misspelled and, for that matter my publishers saw fit to inform the Library of Congress of a middle name I don't have.  The hardest process for the worst product ever with this publisher.  I will walk away and self-publish if anything looks like it is going this way again.

"Scaling Force" the collaboration with Lawrence came out and it looks good.  But the collaboration process was aggravating.  I think I work for myself partially because I hate waiting and partially because I can ignore feelings and small talk.  Ehhh, not in a collaboration project.  This one went well, though and the product is good.

The other collaboration, with the other co-author is cancelled.  We've decided to go our own ways.  After over a year of waiting for the other guys input, the input was...almost like he didn't understand the project at all.  Aggravating.

So, a part of me just doesn't want to put my hands in that same blender again.  But that's the job.  At least no one has shot at me all year.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Education of a Wandering Man

Only halfway through a remarkable book, "Education of a Wandering Man" by Louis L'Amour.  I'm not a big fiction fan or a western fan.  I've read a couple of books by Louis L'Amour and thought he was a good writer, sometimes compelling... but this is amazing.

It isn't really a biography.  And it isn't really about other books or reading or writing.  In "Education" L'Amour talks about his life, wandering and trying to work before and during the Great Depression.  He talks about the people he met and the stories he heard and the books he read.  All true.  But it's not about any of those.  Were it about any of those subjects, he could have gone much deeper.

The book is about the process of learning, of becoming.  Education, in L'Amour's eyes (and mine) is a process of learning to see and to think.
"One thing has always been true: That book or that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

Reading.  Meeting folks.  Listening to stories.  L'Amour was active at a time when you could still run into Old West gunfighters, when the last of the cowboys were still around and getting eager with age to talk.

It hasn't changed.  He writes about talking to an old lawman about a massacre and I reminded of graveyard shifts, one spent with an old OSS veteran, the other with a Pacific Theater ace.  There are people with stories to share.  There is much of the world to see and taste...

A good kick in the pants to those who want to become story tellers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Book

Received a box of author's copies of "FD" this morning. As is my custom, I went out on the deck with a cigar to read the first one.

Not happy.

More than MoV or FV, "FD" is about some important stuff. And it was hard to write. It is the kind of thing that will draw fire-- every person who has already made up their minds that cops are evil thugs will hate it but not read it... but also every officer who considered writing something like it will feel a need to find something wrong. The debate is so entrenched and tribal that maybe nothing good can come from explaining the basics. There were a lot of reasons not to write it at all. And some reasons not to publish.

But I did, because it was the Right Thing To Do (tm).

Then the editing process was the first really negative experience I've had with my publisher. It actually turned into an adversarial relationship with my own editor.

The author approval copy I received was riddled with mistakes and I sent a comprehensive list to the publisher who assured me they were all fixed. They never sent a final galley for approval. The book came out while I was waiting for the galley proofs.

And it is riddled with errors. Mostly typos, but some of the errors are glaring. The section on "Levels of Resistance" is titled "Levels of Force". The formatting is inconsistent. Mostly stuff that I pointed out in the last revision, but all the errors appear to have been left in and a few new ones added. Oh, and according to the publisher page my middle name is Kane.

Not happy. If this book does well it is because the data is important and timely and despite everything else.

Sigh. And growl.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recycling and Good Will

Wrote two articles yesterday, and sent in three. One was for my publisher's publicist, the indomitable Barbara; the other two for Concealed Carry Magazine.

Originally, Barbara had suggested something that ties in with the Martin/Zimmerman shooting and the public uproar, since my next book coming out will be about how police make force decisions. My answer was "Hell, no!" and my reasoning was:

1) I can count the actual facts that we have on the fingers of one hand.

2) Even a trained investigator doesn't necessarily know local
policies, procedures and local law. To comment on any investigation
without this is blowing smoke out your ass and that's one thing I
don't want to do.

3) Everyone is so emotional over the issue that absolutely nothing
said will in any way help or calm things down. It will just be picked
apart for any wording that can justify not listening to any unwanted
conclusion or fact.

I answered a few more questions in the e-mail, particularly why a book on police decision making has so little relevance to this case (duty to act)...

But I did wind up writing an article on necessary steps to evaluate a force decision as a third party. And it was pretty good. And I knew CCM would like it, but I had written it for YMAA.

So I asked if they could both use it. And both said 'yes'. Not only yes, but 'Absolutely let them print/post it, but make sure it's okay if we do because you shouldn't burn bridges.'

Basically, when everyone is more worried about hurting other people's feelings than what is in it for themselves, you know you are working with great people.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Update and Advice

Nothing posted since August on a blog for a crew of writers. Shameful.

I, for one, have been writing. Five volumes of the blog are up in e-book as well as "Talking Them Through: Crisis Communication with the Mentally Ill and Emotionally Disturbed" and "Drills: Training for Sudden Violence."

"Force Decisions" a citizen's guide to how cops decide to use force is due out from YMAA in a couple of months, and two videos later in the year. Still haven't seen the rough cuts so I have to assume that I'm not photogenic at all and David Silver is trying to salvage something in post-production. Damn, should have done videos when I was younger and prettier...
I'm going to give y'all some advice on writing for a living:

1) Do some non-fiction. I am clearly the least talented writer in INK. But I have the most sales. Look at a magazine rack. How many fiction magazines are still publishing? Compare them to the hundreds of magazines on non-fiction subjects. And each of those mags has a deadline and a page requirement. Every month they need stories. If you can write half-way decently, if you can do basic research and especially if you can supply some pictures, you can get published. And paid.
Corollaries: 1a) Strangely enough, you write a few articles on the same subject and people label you an expert. Kind of sad and scary if you think about it.
1b) It is still a professional writing credit that goes in your cover letter and possibly on your resume. Nonfiction can help you sell your fiction.

2) I'm still working on this, but diversify your income streams. Royalties are cool and I have every intention on living off them some day. E-books may become a big part of that. Add magazine articles. When you are successful or if you have or develop an expertise, you can teach classes on line.

3) e-books for the hard-to-place stuff. "Talking Them Through" and "Drills" were too short to be practical for traditional publishing. Doesn't matter for e-formats. If there is a super-niche market you want to reach, e-books are likely your only hope.

4) Recycling. I did blog compilations and I've been doing a series of articles for Concealed Carry Magazine that might make a stand-alone short book. You can sell stories separately AND gather them into collections. Be careful, though. I despise it when someone just repackages the same information over and over so (except for the blog compilations) I try not to do that. Even in the blog compilations, I added thousands of words of new material to each one. And put a notice right up front that most of it was available for free at:

5) Get the word out. Unless someone happens to be cruising Smashwords in those three minutes where your newly uploaded book is on the first page, no one is going to buy your stuff because no one knows to look for it. Your networks will start things rolling. Some people will buy it because they like you or want to support a friend. If it's good, though, that will turn into word of mouth, and that will keep people looking for other things you have written. No one can buy a product if they are unaware of the existence of said product.

6) Quit dithering. This is for two people whose names shall not be mentioned but have the initials Kami and Carole. Spending hours reworking cover art and years rewriting is time spent not writing, no matter what you tell yourself. You guys are fundamentally, magically dispassionate with my work and as such you give me great advice and produce great covers. You are gifted writers and artists. Start acting like it. Quit agonizing and get the work done.

And I said that last one was for two people, but it applies to all y'all and you damn well know it.
Current works available on Amazon:

And Smashwords: