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No More Side Gigs

I’ve decided I’m going to be a writer. What I mean is that I’m giving up any kind of side gigs. I’ll keep my website and my blog. I’ll participate in writers’ groups online for rest and relaxation, but I’m not going to try to build a “platform” anymore.

I’m not going to review books, or start a group, or do editing, or anything like that. Either my novels will be of interest to an agent because they are compelling stories they believe they can sell to editors, or they will not, and no side gig is ever going to make up for it if I suck as a writer.

My job, as an author, is to create compelling content that publishers can sell. All that matters is that I create that content (in the form of novels). Any effort spent doing anything else is just distraction. Clearly, I must work my day job to survive. Beyond that, it should be all novel writing and only novel writing.

Revision is Hard

That’s why people don’t do it, and that’s what separates pros from wannabes. It’s hard. It’s not fun like the first draft, and it’s not easy like the proofread. It’s hard work to fix the plot, rewrite scenes, add, subtract, kill off darlings that don’t work, and then tweak the prose to “sound good.”

Red ink from anyone is your friend. Once you proofread a novel, you learn to love it–because it means a mistake didn’t get through. And little mistakes always seem to get through. Any read ink you can get from anyone is gold.

Revision makes you feel like a failure, because all you do is correct errors. But a manuscript that doesn’t need revision is either a complete boilerplate story or a completely insignificant one. Significance, greatness, polish, publication-worthiness, all come from revision.

I’m in the middle of revising a novel now, and it is, in a word, depressing. This post is meant to help me cope with that. I hope it helps you, too.


Caretakers of Eternity

Jennifer Dickerman, an Arizona real estate agent trying to make it on her own, is given the chance of a lifetime when an old man, in the last days of his life, contacts her to buy his family’s multi-million-dollar winery near Sonoita. For one hundred thousand dollars, Eternity Vineyards is all hers—but on one condition: She can never resell it. She must give her word to keep it and become its new caretaker.

Little does the old man know that Jennifer has no intention of keeping her word, but little does Jennifer know that the old man hasn’t told her everything about the place, especially its gruesome purpose and the demonic winemaker who wants to fire the vineyard back into production.

Can the ghost of a lonely twelve-year-old girl, bound to the estate by her own guilty secrets, convince Jennifer to honor her promise? Or will the satanic bloodbath begin—again?