The Villian is Not Always a Person

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In life for the most part, people are not all good or all bad. Depending on what situation has enveloped them at the time often determines where they are in their values. A few people never waver, but most oscillate. We put rituals and friends in our life to help center us. How do you write that in a novel?

What Was

The first novel “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” I used the idea of action events. The training at the Long Ridge Writers Group showed how to create a story around an event using sensory details. In talking with a friend from India nightly we shared our shadows. He had lost a brother and I had lost a daughter. Mix in a bit of Irish family history with the name McGowan, and an answer to the nearly endless complaining I heard while teaching that it was hard to find a clean book, and you get a novel. By the way the endless complaining is unfounded. Here comes the truth. Indie authors ( off mainstream but equally talented)create plenty of clean books. Their marketing machine comes smaller so books are available but not the usual routes. Traditional methods produce fewer books that make more sales. Constraints happen along the way and taking a risk on an author becomes well calculated. The Big 6 know what sells in masses. Unfortunately except for children’s genre it may not be clean as defined by the general public. Who by the way is the fuel for the traditional publishers. They buy the not so clean books. They buy the Indie author books as well but not in the same numbers as the traditional methods. Yes the public’s mouth says one thing but their pocketbook says another. In marketing money spent speaks loudly.

What Is

As an author you can write that which suits your inner artist or you can write that which sells. We do both after all we have to eat. Writers are not alone in this. Singers often sing songs that they are not particularly fond of because the audience or service needs it. Painters often pick a theme and create a series of portraits for marketing. Which brings me back to the central theme of my second novel set in Hyderabad. No villian but plenty of people solving a problem and trying to make a living. The villian is corruption and will be tied to a person’s action. The action itself will be trying to make a living not an intentional act to commit a crime. It results in many people becoming permanently ill for a lifetime.

It’s much harder to write and develop.

I have had to learn ways to create the flow psychologically rather than with action events to build to a climax. It caused the characters in the book to do introspection. The good news is you learn more about the characters. Despite the struggle of writing it, it has made me a better writer. The first novel was pure pleasure to create. The second one leaves me feeling uncomfortable at times. Nearly unsettled. More of a call to “think and let think.” The novel does not have all the answers. Everything does not wrap up neatly in a package like life.

What Is To Come

I am reluctant to write the climax in this novel. The one caught in the corruption essentially was a good man who became greedy for more money. In an act that on personal level seems harmless once distributed destroys the life of many. The fact is we all do small acts that result in corruption. Some of us get put in prison for it and others live freely. Like buying a product created by child labor because you want items cheaply. Child labor as the child has no choice. The whole novel has small struggles throughout it on several levels. At the end Sharlene will have her family and friends. More aware but less innocent.

In the middle of putting food on the table with my other writings, the outline of a third novel has come. Bangalore. positive muslim character, and high tech hijinks. It keeps interrupting. I have to write the climax. I HAVE to write the climax. I must write the climax to novel 2. But not tonight. I have to eat and set up for a client.

Angst, redemption, and then renewal.

Until next time may your life be Love, Joy and ever positive,



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Via Public Domain by Agricultural Research Service Northamerica1000

You have to eat. As much as you love working on your novel, short stories, and experimental pieces you have to do some things to bring money in. So I write on digital platforms, and if you want to try for a good one apply for WriterAccess. Grand process, friendly and fair describes them. They have a good system for conflict resolution.

My Other Life


Via by Jonathan Broadsky

My other enterprise given to me by an Indian family (Karran) on Christmas Day is The kindness of India, the faith of Hindus, and the practical business sense along with rivers of common sense when I totally mess up makes me a better person. I manage a set of writers there who have their own businesses. I search for projects that fit our values as a group of writers__high quality, fair price, list your resources, and do it to the best of your ability. Everyday I learn something new and interesting from them. The amount of kindness and encouragement they extend me puts me in humble thankfulness and gives me hope. They are not all Americans. They are not all Christian but many times they have been Christ like to me.

A Blessing of No Fear



My writers have “no fear”. Two major projects during two major hurricanes that ravaged the Philippines and the towns two of my writers lived in. I here sitting in the West in the warm Texas sunshine innocently send a reminder for articles to be in. They turn in early or drop a note normally and had not. As they turned in by mobile hotspot one had the roof ripping off her home. She asked for forgiveness if she got it in a little late. Her work was impeccable despite the added stress. The other writer the next week was sending in while the two homes beside hers disappeared in the storm. She was thankful hers was safe and that she got her articles in. The ones in India are ever polite and full of good ideas. If someone has life happen no matter how busy the others are they will try to fill the spot and turn the article in on time. (they all have other jobs, and write, and some have kids)  I have made mistakes even with money, and they have been nothing but generous, patient, and kind. The American one well he cheers, rants, and raves that we should have better paying clients. He has even Skyped and talked direct to get us more fair pay because he is good at what he does. He takes a bit more risk than I do and tells them exactly what it should be. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. When we have a project, and we are all working toward that goal we have writer contentment.

It is Coming (The Compulsion)

I am still working on the sequel to my first novel. It has taken several twists turns that I did not expect. It was a much bigger challenge since the culprit in it is not a person but what corruption does to good people. Harder to write in many ways, and Sharlene of course had to change from the innocent she was in the first novel. It is longer. I am going back through and making the timeline flow, and putting in flourishes. I still have the ending to write. I keep switching the scenarios or maybe Sharlene and Sajiv are. After all it is their life they are living so I guess they should have a say about the outcome. Most of it is a result of going out in the world and making deals for my writers. Different setting and field but root cause analysis is the same sin. All of which makes it a more realistic novel.

Writers you have to pay the bills and put food on the table. You have to find a balance in your creative life. Find some time to do what you like. It keeps you —you. May you all have at least one project manager or editor that knows that. May they help you do that like Rajiv Karran who has a sixth sense about how to get the best writing out of someone and take care of them at the same time.

Until Next Time and no Telling When,

Have a grand escapade


For All the Writers, Singers, Composers, and Artists Out There

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I went to the Holocaust Museum in Houston. It causes deep reflection. I drew a picture in response to it. Some things only a picture will do. I combined it with text. Picture after picture showed these people coming off railroad cars. No one knew who they were other than they were Jews taken by Germans to camps. It goes for artists too. We create and others make money off of us. Works when we get enough but does not work when we are not paid enough or treated fairly. For what it is worth. How about that for a Writer’s Halloween 🙂 Reflection.

I have a face

Round and Round It Goes

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101561441_3761c02d29_z by Frederic Guillory

So what now? You have books, short stories, and articles published. You have filled your portfolio with good stuff. You have gotten good letters, we like it but we cannot use it letters, and then the what were you thinking letters. All part of being a writer.


                                © Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It Comes Down to You

I have worked from both ends now. As a writer learning their craft, as one who publishes in several venues, and as someone who brokers clients and articles. As diverse a lot writers are we have one thing in common. We love to write. We write whether we get paid or not. We write on scraps of paper. We write on social media. We write to our friends who say ‘can you make it a little shorter?”. I bet we sky write in our sleep.

road-sign-63983_640 public domain

We are curious.

We ask questions. Talk to diverse people just to see what they have to say. Our minds engage in endless debates and conversations. Sometimes with our characters. Sometimes with ourself (so glad for the head phones now that makes us normal)Sometimes with family. ( we need to do that more often)


Edwin Landseer, Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania and Bottom, 1851, National Gallery of Victoria.

We dream.

Despite our cynicism with every application we fill out we hope this employer will pay a fair wage. We hope they value content more than grammar. When we mess up we hope they have a system that lets us know but does not keep us out too long. Most of us do not wish for riches we just want enough to raise the kids, pay our bills, and take our sweetie on some excursion once in a while.

I always hesitate to answer someone when they say they like my writing or the other way they do not. I am never sure how to respond to that. It is not that I am not pleased either way. (I got a REACTION to my thoughts on paper yes besides the editor!)


         Sketch by Mary Page one day while pondering on a novel

Just when you think what you do not matter at all.

Someone calls or tells you. My mother in the nursing home does not smile much anymore but she read your book. When is Sajiv and Sharlene going to kiss? Her time is limited and she demands to know before she dies.

That alternative therapy you wrote about on cancer. Thanks it improved my wife’s quality of life.

I cannot afford the normal clothes. Thanks for the idea about vintage fashion.

That list on that product how you did it. I walked in and knew the specifications were exactly what I needed to solve my problem.

If we ever get paid what we truly are worth or at least pay forward we would be some of the richest people on the planet. Maybe we are Solomon’s kids. Dispensing bits of wisdom that others use to make their lives better often as ghost writers or for other companies. I wonder what God is going to do with us when we get to heaven since He knows everything who will we do research for then? What will we write then? Hmmm

I have an Indian friend who sent me the saying “You are living. You occupy space.You have a mass. YOU MATTER. I think on a bad day all writers need to hear that.

Until Next Time have a grand escapade,


Taking a Trip

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freedom                                                             By Mary Page with oil paints 

While I wait for my big check for my novels or children’s books, I do other activities. 🙂 A girl has to put food on her table and gas in her car. I also do writings on art since I love to paint and sketch. It gives me a time of peace. I write about art so that I learn the different styles and artists. I use it for travel money. I want to go see my parents this fall when the Missouri leaves turn colors. For what it is worth here are my “by lined” like a real author articles. The articles I did not get money for. You get money when people click. It has to be from a different device each time. Please click and I will thank you for the community Christmas present early. Of course my Mom who is a healthy 72 and my Dad who is a healthy soon to be 80 will be delighted. Once again I will prove to them there is still random acts of kindness and goodness in the world.

Until Next Time Have Your Own Grand Escapade with parents or parent substitutes or better yet pick someone elderly and treat them as such,


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courtesy of by Alan Cleaver

Writing comes as an ever changing craft. Getting the balance of it takes intentional thinking.You have to put food on the table and gas in the car. So you find assignments that give a steady income. At the same time you have to do larger projects that may catch the eye of a literary agent or the public’s in self publishing realms. The third piece comes as continuing to develop as a writer.


The Internet in one sense has made finding writing assignments easier. Traditional methods involved writing query letters and sending your resume and manuscript which was placed in a slush pile. Like waiting for Christmas present expectantly you wait for some to say you picked me. Frankly not enough jobs existed and competition was fierce. The best person does not always win but the one who fits the mood and theme of the day does.

Internet writing offers a variety of platforms to choose from. The short articles someone reads daily comes from a writer hired by a venue. Internet formats developed differently for many reasons suchs the size of the web page, media has trained many brains to read a large volume in short paragraphs. Most Internet articles range from 150 words to 800 words. Many articles have short subheadings and graphics. Most of it has informative value. Then you have your large venues of ebook publishing. Hybrid publishers who do some traditional and some modern.


Traditional methods if one is chosen you may get an advance or 6 to 8 percent of the money made. They have a large marketing machine so a decent income for a time and a promise to publish your next novel or book. So few are chosen. Most are quite gracious when they do make it since they understand from their many friends that some of it is luck that there book was recognized at all. The others use them as mentors, teachers and people to follow.

Internet methods you get paid but not necessarily regularly. You have to be careful about exploitation. The markets pay by word and by hour. Both have their hazards. Most writers make 1 to 6 cents a word in the Western civilizations. So speed becomes the answer to earning a living. Snagging a column helps a bit but those jobs are few and far between. Getting paid by clicks can happen but not for most. Have other income to fall on since it varies.

Self Publishing

Amazon has a portion called Kindle Direct Publishing. It allows an author to self publish for no fee. My shorter stories I developed at the Longridge Writer’s Group with Tom Hyman as my mentor I have published some of those there. ( Grace the Music Man Way The Constitution and Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson) I set a goal of sending out my stories and when I get the third magazine letter saying we like your story but we cannot use it I publish it on Amazon. My thinking is it is Tom Hyman approved (New York Times best seller author, editor of the Washington Post for years), been rejected 3 times by high quality magazines and I received the good letter that is it ready for public viewing. Also a trend in the younger generation among corporate players is to read short stories on their lunch hours or breaks. They tell you on that platform one needs to publish many things to make money. It is a 30 percent for Amazon and 70 percent for you deal.


Once you get proficient enough in the Internet writing you can start your own website and offer writing services. The need for high quality writing comes huge and the Internet now is getting old enough things have to become updated in new formats. Managing writers comes as another way to make money. I do that for with an Indian partner Dhurghae who manages the web end. That has proved to be a wonderful business adventure with clients, writers and a partner.


My oldest son has writer friends. They sent word to me that in the early years develop the craft. As you get to your third year develop the business. As you approach your 5th year expect your reward. Not a single writer has claimed you will get rich. They all talk about the craft and the life. Most are gracious. The few that are not fall by the wayside eventually or go into other areas. On a personal level it works for me in this stage of my life. I get art, I get to do my music, I have added theater and writing which is always fun. Mary took her pain that she could not get rid of and it spilled out to transform into this. I still have the pain but I have found with the help of other artists a way to comfort myself. The rest I have not figured out and may never.

Whatever you choose to do, diversify. Explore the other paths and decide for yourself what to keep.

Until next time have grand escapades,


It’s a Wild Ride When Creating

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                                         Courtesy of by Ralph Langendam

Once a book comes out it becomes more difficult to write regularly. Marketing mode takes over. You have to get copies to all the people who helped you. You have to announce it to the world and then keep up with it. At the same time you have to put food on your table and gas in your car. Living alone of course makes all that more difficult. I do not have the safety net of a partner to help, bounce ideas off of or comfort when a computer blows up or reviews asked for do not appear. I do have friends that help as far away as India. Many a nite they have saved me or given me advice.

Yet here I sit contemplating the next chapter of The  Grand or maybe another word Hyderabad Adventure Excursions Trip. I have a back log of children’s books needing illustrating which I could do but I have to work up my courage to do so. I want to take an InDesign or Illustrator course to  strengthen my skills.I need to go join the other painters at Deer Park and oil paint as well. The community chorus I was in was discontinued and the new one I joined disappeared.  It is one of those time periods where I cannot make it happen but have to wait or be nudged gentlely. For whatever reason if I do not work on art, or a piece of music or do my creative writing I become deeply upset. I know not why just that it is the way it is now. I loved teaching and still do but this creative need in me is so much stronger than that it takes over. It wants what it wants when it wants it but I cannot always give it its due.


Past Life

In teaching I reached the top. I was a district elementary math specialist who in the first year with the math office, 14 math facilitator and with a new curriculum put in place a program which we pinched until it worked. We ended up with 7 exemplary math elementary campuses. Most of which were poverty level and I was so stunned I did not appreciate the accomplishment until this year. To say in my favor I became a month later so ill that I had to be retired for an underlying disability because of an inherited syndrome and because of my age, amount of stress at work, and a divorce. I was told I could not ever go back to that level of intensity. I took my pain and turned it into something useful but with all the taking from others it took years to fuel back up. There was no cure. How I did it was small bits advice from doctors on moving back into my creative self which I never had an opportunity to develop and lots of chats with the Almighty who protected and kept me safe. A friend from India who told me to move forward several hundred times.


I had always doodled. I have drawings from my teens that out of no where manifested. I know now it was my creative self making its presence known. I wrote essays and stories that gave me scholarship money for college. I even won a 2nd place journalism award in high school in St. Louis from the Post Dispatch. I have nearly always played guitar and sang in some fashion. Putting a life back together is no small accomplishment. The whole process is humbling. You constantly stumble to go back because that is what you know and you cannot. You put in place the new and because you are older the support system is not there. You have to make your own and I am still working on that. I can not tell how many women have told me to “act my age” and for the life of me I do not understand. So I go to FB and talk to Indians who say go try it. I have a set of ones who debate with me, encourage me and sometimes fight with me but I am always better for it. I can only be me and it demands creativity. My other life those who knew me before I cannot be that person as extensively anymore. I am still me but my creative side is dominant and much more free-spirited which was what I was when young so may parents tell me. My Mom says I am not ill I just returned to my personality at 5 to 7 years old an adult version of course. My new church helps since many artists exist in its congregation and they know what I am talking about.

Oops I created therefore I am

The novel manifested it first from my fascination about India mostly about the life of the Karran family, and then my oil paintings. I combined art and writing in my children’s book, White Shark Cafe. It manifest in songs I compose or interesting wild arrangements on my piano or guitar. The new business I work with is successful. We have had work for nearly 20 weeks now and is with an Indian business partner Dhurghae who has much more sense than I do about business. The foundation is good just have to increase clients and profits. Working with a group of writers accomplishing a task is wonderful. Reading what they create is satisfying and then seeing it on the web still amazes me.I am still learning how to make a living from it. It is stressful having an up and down income. I need a few more items that will bring in a steady stream of money. Any yet if I think about giving it up I am gripped with such anxiety and tears I can hardly breathe. The more creativity I do the healthier I become emotionally,spiritually and mentally. Physically my parents blessed me with a set of wonderful genes that lets me be 54 without any chronic disease. They are in their 70′s and healthy and I hope to do the same. Better yet my Mom says I need a caring partner after all I have been through since I took care of everyone else it should be my turn. But while I wait I think I will start sketching more face ideas for the book—I need a orthogonal concept–Sharlene is about to meet Sajiv’s mother and I have to develop her personality first and oh Chris Tomlin has that new song Waterfall I wonder how that sounds on the guitar and did you know you can double time parts of Tumbakla on the piano and it sounds like people dancing.(or at least have a partner who does money and massage would be heavenly)


Until next time have a grand escapade,




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