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Some online destinations for your consideration:

  • I’m part of the lineup of editors at The Blood-Red Pencil. If you’re a writer or an editor (or both!), I highly recommend that you bookmark this site. Tips cover all the bases: grammar, plotting, dialogue, marketing and promotion, etc. Check out my latest post, on pet peeves.
  • Today, I dropped in at another of my favorite sites, 1st Turning Point, and offered up an essay on self-promotion. The reality for most writers is that it’s promote or perish. Gone are the days of dropping a book out there and washing your hands of it — if, in fact, such days ever existed. 1st Turning Point consistently offers sound advice on thumping your work without being a raging pain in the ass. Unless, you know, that’s your niche.
  • Are you a Goodreads denizen? If you love books, you should be. Think of it as a Facebook for readers. I’d also invite you to add my upcoming novel, The Summer Son, as a to-read item. (I can safely assume you’ve already added 600 Hours of Edward, right? Right?)
  • Finally, thanks to the fabulous Christopher Meeks, I just discovered Janet Fitch’s blog. The White Oleander author has some superb stuff there, including this essay on creating dialogue. She writes: “It’s like a racehorse, it can’t just carry any old thing, the pots and pans and old tires. You can’t heap all your expository business on it, the meet and greet, all that yack. It’s just for the conflict between one character and another. That’s it.”

I think I just swooned.

(The NFL is upon us again, and so I am a happy boy. Thus, the football-referencing post title. You’re welcome.)

In lieu of any pressing news, let’s do this baby roundup-style:

I’m throwing in with the gang of bloggers over at The Blood-Red Pencil, a wonderful site for writers and editors. My first post as a new member is scheduled to appear Aug. 19 (topic: promotion), and you can be sure I’ll link to it here. If you’re wrestling with a manuscript, wandering into the wild world of independent publishing, flogging your own work or minding your hyphens, The Blood-Red Pencil is an excellent daily stop. And I would have said that even before I wore the pledge pin.

Richard S. Wheeler’s blog has quickly become must-read stuff for me. Here’s his take on Dorchester Publishing’s decision to abandon mass-market books, particularly as it pertains to the Western genre.

A snippet:

It is tempting to suppose that one less publisher in the mass-market western field will strengthen the rest, but it doesn’t work that way. It means less rack space will be devoted to westerns, and they will be harder to find and the genre will be even farther from sight and mind.

People who traffic in the things-ain’t-what-they-once-were trade are simultaneously dead-on and off the mark. The problem: They’re dead-on in a no-shit kind of way (things are never what they once were) and off the mark in the sense that change is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. So it is that a writer at the New York Observer sees no Mailers or Updikes and thus concludes that fiction is culturally irrelevant.

I’m sorry about Theodore Dreiser being dead and all, but he had his time. Let’s allow Carlton Mellick III to have his. I’m not saying The Baby Jesus Butt Plug is a work of comparable merit to An American Tragedy (I’m also not saying it’s not). I’m saying it doesn’t have to be. When we have so many books that speak to so many constituencies — and so many ways to enjoy them — that’s precisely the opposite of cultural irrelevance.

Finally, this is about as entertaining as Glenn Beck gets. I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.

My blog book tour wraps up today at novelist Carol Buchanan’s site. There, I tell about how I built the protagonist of my novel, Edward Stanton.

Finishing up with Carol, who wrote the beautiful God’s Thunderbolt, is fitting. She’s become one of the best friends I’ve met in this publishing journey, a fellow Montanan and a monumental talent. I give her my thanks for hosting me.

If you cruise over and drop in a comment, you’ll be in the mix for a signed copy of 600 Hours of Edward. Don’t miss out!

If you’d like to check out my previous blog stops, just click the links below:

Day 1: NaNoWriMo and the birth of 600 Hours.

Day 2: Misadventures in self-publishing.

Day 3: Landing a publishing deal.

Day 4: On writing a character with mental illness.

Day 5: Q&A with Jim Thomsen.

Day 6: Writing the West into a story.

It was all great fun, and I met some wonderful people. I’m looking forward to a fresh round of experiences with Book No. 2. Thanks for riding along.

Today marks the end of my three-day stint as a guest blogger at The Blood-Red Pencil. Today’s topic: Landing a publishing contract with Riverbend Publishing, which just released my debut novel, 600 Hours of Edward. Cruise on over and toss in a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

My blog book tour will pick up again Monday and run four more days at the following stops:

Monday, Nov. 2: I’ll have a guest post at For The Sake of Joy, a blog run by writer Kimberly Parker. In it, I’ll discuss the challenges and pitfalls of drawing a main character who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger syndrome. Gavin Bollard’s excellent blog, Life With Aspergers, will link to Kimberly’s site.

Tuesday, Nov. 3: Jim Thomsen will host me for a Q&A. Jim asks deep, penetrating questions — check out the Q&A with Diane Fanning that’s on his site now — so be sure to drop in.

Wednesday, Nov. 4: Cowgirl Dreams author Heidi Thomas will host a guest post from me on using the West as a setting.

Thursday, Nov. 5: Carol Buchanan, a Spur Award winner for God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana, will let me sit down and get into the nuts and bolts of how I wrote from Edward’s point of view.

Copies of the book will be handed out at each stop, so bookmark the sites now and follow along.

And check back here Sunday — the start of that crazy dash of writing called NaNoWriMo — for a guest post that simultaneously scares me and thrills me. My wife, Angela, will write about the birth of my novel from her perspective. I can’t wait to see what she has to say. Angela, it should be noted, is enormously supportive of my writing but also fiercely protective of her time with me away from the computer. It’s a perpetual balancing act, and one I don’t always perform well. … Anyway, I’ll let her cover this ground. She will pull no punches. She never does.

* — It is, after all, nearly Halloween.

Now that 600 Hours of Edward is available — really, it isseriously — I’m hitting the virtual road to chat about the book, writing, vintage TV, big-hair bands, alchemy, snipe hunting, whatever.

Behold, my schedule:

Day 1 of the blog book tour is in the bag. I was a guest at The Blood-Red Pencil on Wednesday to chat about National Novel Writing Month and 600 Hours‘ genesis in that event last year. (By the way, I’m doing the NaNoWriMo madness again this year. You should, too.)

Today, I’m back at The Blood-Red Pencil, this time talking about my experience initially releasing my novel through CreateSpace. Drop by and mix it up with us in the comments section. Here’s a bonus: A signed copy of 600 Hours will be given away.

Finally, on Friday, I’ll make one last appearance at The Blood Red Pencil to talk about landing a publishing contract with Riverbend Publishing, which gave my novel a new title, a new cover and a new life. And, yes, another signed copy of 600 Hours will be up for grabs.

Also Friday, I’ll appear on Stacey Cochran’s Book Chatter program on USTREAM. The show begins at 9 p.m. Mountain time. We’ll be talking about 600 Hours, publishing at large, writing and anything online viewers steer us toward. To call in, dial up the show at (914) 803-4571 or use the chat box online.

Monday brings the beginning of a new batch of guest blog posts. Join me at the following stops:

Monday, Nov. 2: Kimberly Parker’s For the Sake of Joy blog, where I’ll talk about Edward Stanton, the obsessive-compulsive Aspergian at the center of my novel. Bookmark the blog now and join in the comments and take your shot at winning a signed copy of the book.

Tuesday, Nov. 3: Jim Thomsen will host a Q&A with me at his blog. It will be an extensive look at the book, the writing life and the weird compulsions that go into it. We’ll give away a signed book there, too. (Are you sensing a theme?)

Wednesday, Nov. 4: Author Heidi Thomas (Cowgirl Dreams) is letting me hang around her corral and talk about using the West (or any other setting) as a character in a novel. (Signed book giveaway still in effect.)

Thursday, Nov. 5: The tour wraps up at the blog of author Carol Buchanan (God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana). Carol gave 600 Hours a favorable review back in its independently published days, and she did so despite general misgivings about first-person, present-tense point of view and main characters suffering from mental illness. Since I won her over, she’s going to let me explain why I made the storytelling choices I did and how I went about putting them into play. It will be a good discussion for anyone who struggles with point of view and character development. (Also, I’m made to understand that we’ll be giving away a signed book. I’m just sayin’.)

And for those of you in the Billings area, a few signings are on the schedule:

On Saturday, Nov. 7, I’ll be at Borders at 2833 King Ave. West from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign copies of the novel.

On Friday, Dec. 4, I’ll be in front of Thomas Books, 209 29th St. North, from 7 to 9 p.m. during the annual Billings Holiday Parade. Hope to see you there.

And on Saturday, Jan. 2, I’ll be at Barnes and Noble, 530 24th St. West, from 2 to 4 p.m. to help you make good use of those holiday gift cards.

Keep an eye on the events page at my Web site for more appearances and signings as they get lined up.

As the Nov. 1 release date of 600 Hours of Edward nears (and passes), I’ll be making some guest stops at blogs run by generous people so I can chat about writing and bringing Edward to life. Here is the lineup and the list of topics. Please drop by on the corresponding days and take part in the conversation. There should be lots of good book chatter, and at every stop, I’ll be giving away a signed copy of the book.

Wednesday, Oct. 28: I’ll be at The Blood-Red Pencil to chat about the novel’s genesis in NaNoWriMo 2008. (The 2009 version of the event begins four days later.)

Thursday, Oct. 29: Day 2 at The Blood-Red Pencil, where I’ll discuss lessons learned with the independently published version of the novel.

Friday, Oct. 30: Day 3 at The Blood-Red Pencil. On tap: a discussion about landing a contract with Riverbend Publishing, the publisher of 600 Hours of Edward.

Monday, Nov. 2: I’ll have a guest post at For The Sake of Joy, a blog run by writer Kimberly Parker. In it, I’ll discuss the challenges and pitfalls of drawing a main character who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger syndrome. Gavin Bollard’s excellent blog, Life With Aspergers, will link to Kimberly’s site. Be sure to check out both blogs.

Tuesday, Nov. 3: Jim Thomsen will host me for a Q&A. Jim asks deep, penetrating questions — check out the Q&A with Diane Fanning that’s on his site now — so be sure to drop in.

Wednesday, Nov. 4: Cowgirl Dreams author Heidi Thomas will host a guest post from me on using the West as a setting.

Thursday, Nov. 5: Carol Buchanan, a Spur Award winner for God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana, will let me sit down and get into the nuts and bolts of how I wrote from Edward’s point of view. I’m looking forward to that.

I hope to “see” you there in the comments sections. At each day’s stop, I’ll be sticking around to chat with folks about the book, about writing, about anything. So save the dates and drop by.*

* — You don’t really have to save the dates, if you don’t want to. Chances are 100 percent that there will be periodic reminders as the dates draw near.

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