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Author Archives: David Duhr

We are officially retiring this webpage, ladies and gents, as our blog will now appear on our new website (still at WriteByNight.net). Click here to read our initial post on the new site, and make sure to switch your subscriber feed.

Thanks for the support, WriteByNighters! We have some big things planned, so stop by the new site as often as you can.

This Saturday in Austin, The Texas Observer is holding its second annual Writers’ Festival, which is free and open to the public. The event goes from 11:30 – 6:00 at the very funky and cool Pine Street Station (5th & Waller, just a block from good old WriteByNight). Six panels inside, and outside will be free beer and wine, tamales, book sales and sponsor tables (including good old WriteByNight).

Our headliner is local author Sarah Bird, Read More »

We’re only two weeks away from the WLT’s “YA A to Z Conference” in Austin. From the event website:

At the Writers’ League of Texas’ brand-new YA A to Z Conference, you can focus on the craft of writing for teens and young adults, as well as meet agents and editors and get up to speed on the latest trends in publishing for this hot market.

Registration includes more than twenty panels and lectures, as well as several receptions and parties where you can rub elbows with agents and editors in the Young Adult market. For a small fee, you can also sign up for one-on-one meetings with agents and editors.

Early bird registration ends March 31, so sign up now for a chance to save $70 on admission.

The conference will be held April 15 & 16 at the Hyatt Regency, 208 Barton Springs Road in Austin.

Today’s post on the importance to a writer of an Internet presence comes from Dan L. Hays, author of Freedom’s Just Another Word.

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Author Website or Blog?

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I read an article not long ago which indicated that traditional publishers are not willing to take on new authors who don’t have a blog. For an author who has published a book or intends to soon, a web presence is becoming more essential.  So what are the points to consider about setting up a website or blog?  I’m not talking about content, but about presence – gaining exposure for yourself as an author.

In June 2007 when I first went to the Agent’s and Editor’s Conference in Austin, I saw published authors who had business cards and websites, and did a mental gulp.  I hadn’t thought about that part of the publishing business, but as I heard a number of times in the conference, it was becoming more important.

In May 2008 when I was about to publish my first memoir, I set up a website. It allowed me to have a web presence, and the upside was since it was professionally hosted and administered, I could add content like archived radio interviews easily.  Over time I began to add and supplement the content on the site. The downside was that I had to submit changes to my website administrator.  That limitation started to intrude as I wanted to add fresh content more regularly.

By 2009 a blog was starting to look more vital to extending a web presence.  So I started a blog. The upside to a blog was that I could post content regularly without having to go through the website guy.  The only real downside I could see was that I couldn’t add content like archived radio segments.  But the amount of control was very nice.

There is of course a caveat to all of this.  How much technical expertise does the author have?  For me it was fun, because I used to manage a large network in Austin, and computer applications were just a new project and challenge.  So going to WordPress to set up a blog was fairly easy for me, and I have now set up sites for a couple of friends.   But it can be an overwhelming maze, and the assistance of a professional may be well worth the expense.

A quick word here.  Blogspot by Google is the blog option most people run across first.  But it is limited in functionality and effectiveness (I can’t post a comment on a Blogspot site half the time – it just doesn’t work).  WordPress is by far the superior platform and well worth using.  WordPress has tracking support that allows you to see who is visiting your site and what they are reading.  I’ve also noticed I get a lot more traffic because I’m on the WordPress network.

I do most of my regular posting on the blog, but having spent the money on the website, and having established a strong presence there, I have kept the website. What I do is connect everything.  I think of it as putting arrows on each page I develop, pointing at the other functions I have active.  On my website, there is a link to my blog.  On my blog is a link to my website.  On both pages are links to my radio show and inspirational radio segments.  I want people to be able to find the other things I’m doing from wherever they might happen to encounter me.

Am I glad I have a website?  Absolutely.  I feel the same way about my blog.  I consider the website my “business presence” and my essential identity as an author on the internet.  Yet I also like the convenience with the blog of having control and convenience when posting new entries.  The bottom line is that a web presence is an effective and essential element of developing a successful platform as an author.

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Lost creativity and the effects of family alcoholism are just two of the elements of the story Dan L. Hays explores in his first published book, Freedom’s Just Another Word, which chronicles events around the time of his father’s death. It is the first of a cycle of seven books about healing old wounds with his father. That cycle will culminate with Nothing Left to Lose, written in 1993, about a critical turning point in his father’s life, depicted from a perspective of forgiveness and admiration.

Dan has been pursuing his craft for more than 25 years. His passion has always been writing, but he had a writing block that he could not understand for many years. He wrote two books that publishers were interested in, but he backed away and the books were never published.

Read more of Dan’s work on his blog and at Life as a Human, or follow his various radio features.  You can also catch him on Twitter and Facebook.

And while you’re at it, catch WriteByNight on Facebook and Twitter, too. We appreciate the support.

Today’s post comes from Mooner Einstein Johnson, WBN friend and Justine admirer. WBN edited his forthcoming novel, Full Rising Mooner. I would recommend cracking a few Carta Blancas before diving in.

Sincerely,

You-Know-Who

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The Science of Artful Writing

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So. I was asked to write something that describes my creative processes when I write said writings. You know, I was asked to answer questions like how I decide what to write, where do I get my ideas, what do I do to rid myself of writer’s block, what does my writing space look like? Silly shit like that.

I know that most writers consider writing to be work. Hard work. I don’t, I consider writing to be a giant pain in the ass, but easy.

See, I have ADHD and its little brother, ADD, and both in copious quantities. I have been tested to have as many as fifteen distinct trains of thought simultaneously stirring in the cauldron that is my skull. As a for instance take this exact second. I can identify the following thought strings swirling in my brain:

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  1. I’m trying to write without the need of editing.
  2. Will Justine edit me anyway?
  3. Why is the Squirt barking?
  4. Is it too early for an icy cold Carta Blanca beer?
  5. Will anybody actually read this shit?
  6. Would I really have actual sex with Sarah Palin?
  7. I want chicken for dinner.
  8. When will I next be slapped by mistake?
  9. I had some really good sex last night, and so on.
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Each of the nine thoughts I mentioned were summarized for you in the name of brevity. But, to frame the references, each is a story of, and into, itself. Said another way, I just had nine story lines in my brain two minutes ago and now half of those are gone and have replacements. My brain is full of thoughts and thoughts make stories.

For example, Number 1. is the thought that leads to the story I’m writing right now about writing. Anybody will have that thought when they write a similar story, right?

Number 2. could be me telling you about my wonderful experience having Justine edit my book and about everything she did for me and about the sex dream I had where she was a school teacher. I won’t tell that story because I’m working hard to be appropriate. And also because you-know-who will likely read this.

Number 3. would be a mystery that unfolds as I sneak back to the kitchen to see what’s what. Squirt is a mixed breed puppy who has many barks, and speaks many languages. I could go ask her what is going on and I could tell you what she says and who knows where that would go.

Number 4. is simple. It is never too early for Carta Blanca beer. If you are not a Carta Blanca drinker– shame on you.

Number 5. is another mystery. I could tell you of all the imaginings going on in my head as to who will read this, what they will think and how I might be influencing them.

Number 6. Well for starters the answer is likely, “Yes, I would have actual sex with Sarah Palin.” Actual sex as compared to dream sex. I have many sex dreams with celebrities and regular women and I blog about many of them.

Which reminds me to tell you that I have a blog at http://www.moonerjohnson.com and you can see the results of a writer having so many things to write about. My psycho therapist says to me, she says, “Mooner, I’m glad you have found an outlet in writing. Spilling your thoughts to paper is like letting some air out of an over-inflated tire. Reduces the probability of a blow-out.”

My therapist is also one of my ex-wives and a real bitch. But she’s mine and I’ve grown comfortable with her over the thirty years she has treated me. Mistreated me as well.

But, Number 6. would make a book what with all of the dreams and dream themes.

Number 7., well 7 could be a book as well and well might be a book. Maybe I went to the well too many times there. I love to cook and have a creative mind for it. I could tell you a dozen stories, interesting ones, from the dinner conversations at my family dinner table just this month. Like about when Gram found a fresh pig whisker in her pumpkin squash soup and threatened to kill Rush Limbaugh. That would be Rush Limbaugh my pet hog and not the giant asshole with the inflated ego that pontificates hatred on the radio.

Fucking asshole Rush Limbaugh. And while I’m at it I might as well get this out of the way. Fuck Rick Perry!

I might be digressing a touch so allow me to get back to my point. Number 8. is another possible book because I get slapped on purpose, but undeservedly, often. I get slapped as an appropriate response as well but that would make for yet another book.

Why do some women have an unfiltered slap mechanism? Some women have this slap first and ask, “Why the fuck did you do that?” later. They need to understand that an apology sometimes won’t fix a broken eardrum.

Number 9. is the only thought I listed that will not become fodder for the printing of my thoughts. I don’t kiss and tell anything about my actual lady friends and most especially when they carry a gun and a stunner. My current love is a Special Agent in Charge for US Department of  Homeland Security. She does enjoy popping me with a little juice from her stunner before sex. You know, foreplay.

If I had outlined a tenth thought on my list, above, it would have been, “I wonder how many words I’m allowed in this dealie?”

I’m thinking 1,000 might be just about right, so please allow me to say to you with authority, “Why in the world would you ask me to write about the creative process?”

This stuff spills from my brain in mass volume.

Did I tell you that my ADHD is contagious? It grabs control of your brain at about 1,000 words.

Drink Carta Blanca beer.

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For more from Mooner Einstein Johnson (“an adult and manly man living in, and around, Austin, Texas USA”), follow his blog.