Monday, September 1, 2014

A moment of zen while mowing my lawn with beer.

I still have dreams.  Even at what is statistically the middle of my life.   And I still have every intention of working hard, and making them come true.  But I realized something today...

I don't ever need to be any happier than I am right now. 

Even if nothing in my life ever gets "better", I've already succeeded in everything that counts.

It happened while I was mowing.

I stopped in the back corner of my yard to move a branch that had fallen out of the woods that border my property.  Before I re-started my 'yard-machine', I sat for a moment.  Took a long swallow from my beer.  The wind was in the trees and the waving branches sent dapples of sunlight dancing over the freshly-mown grass.  Our lunk-head dog was capering about thirty feet away, trying to nip a butterfly out of the air.  Someone came to the slider on the deck to call him in -- from that distance I couldn't tell if it was my wife or my daughter -- either way, someone who owns my whole heart.

Then the zen came over me.

Who, ever -- in the history of everything -- could seriously ask for more than this?

The breeze and the sun on your face, the taste of a good beer, domestic tranquility.


Despite any imagined 'problem', despite any unfilled dream, I felt all the contentment in the world.  As much as any one man could bear.  It all rushed in and I was frozen.  For nearly ten full minutes, I was paralyzed.  Staring at the woods, watching the wind in the branches, staring at the grass I'd just cut, staring at the deck on the back of the house which contained every reason for being alive.

I'll leave you to guess how I responded physically, but... you know... keep in mind what a manly stud I am.  Try not to assume I did anything too wimpy because -- whatever...

Anyway.  That'a pretty much it.  Why don't you go read some other part of the internet now?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Live from the Can (and other music)

This blog is still a part of my home-tab thing in Chrome. So here you go, Ray: a handy way to get to your music videos quickly. No need to thank me, because...well... I'm you. And that makes this here link mutually beneficial.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Meet the Amazing Colby Marshall

And now, something I haven't done in a very long time -- guest post.  This is Colby Marshall, an awesomely funny and talented lady, here to say a few words about life after 'the deal.  Read her bio and synopsis, then read what she has to say about the experience.  You'll be glad you did.  I know I am.

Thanks for stopping by, Colby.


Bio: Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she's a perpetual workaholic.  In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.  She is actively involved in local theaters as a choreographer and sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress.  She lives in Goergia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status.

Her debut thriller, Chain of Command, is a about a reporter who discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman -- the Speaker of the House -- into the presidency.  Chain of Command is now available, and the second book in her McKenzie Mclendon series, The Trade, is due for publication by Stairway Press in June 2013.

Chain of Command is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, iBooks, Kobo, and other major e-readers, or in select independant bookstores.

Watch the official book trailer for Chain of Command here. 

You can also learn more about Colby and her books at


Every author goes from being a nobody to being a nobody who is published.

Yes, I know it sounds cynical, but in ways, it’s the truth.  When your book finally hits the stores, you move into that wonderful stage of being a real, honest to goodness author with some excitement and some success surrounding it, a little trepidation dosed in for good measure.  You sign books for folks, you hold your own paper copy in your hand, sure it’s the best smelling thing you’ve ever come across.  You feel over the moon, on top of the world, and a dozen other clich├ęs that mean you couldn’t be happier.

Then comes that awkward stage no author can ever prepare for if only because you don’t ever realize it will happen to you: the phase where your book—the novel that was years in the making, was your dream, your baby, your everything—is suddenly just one more thing you’ve done.  You’re a working author now, and the novel that was your world, the one you built up in your mind to releasing now has to be put on the backburner in favor of *gasp* a career.  Yep, it’s time to do some new writing, to edit new books.  These new pieces of writing must become your everything
But suddenly, the shimmer and glimmer of the white wedding publishing dream isn’t on the table anymore, so while writing new books is exciting and fun, it’s now a very different thing for you than before.  It’s not a pipe dream.  It’s just an aspect of your life.  You no longer eat, sleep, and breathe the thought of getting published, which can be a bizarre transition because for SO long you have eaten, slept, and breathed the idea.  You realize, “Christ skipping around the maypole, I don’t get those same tingles thinking about books or have an obsession with my website hits or my Amazon rankings anymore.”  It’s just all in a day, both a beautiful thing and an ugly thing at the same time.
It really is like being a virgin (uh oh. I’m going here).  This thing that is so great is built up in your mind, and then it happens.   It’s a huge deal.  But after that, the mystery and ordeal surrounding it isn’t an ordeal anymore.  Sure, the sex can be great, but it will always be different.  And it’ll never again be your first.  You’ve crossed into the realm of knowing, and it won’t be that SAME excitement.  You will have a different perspective, because it’s your reality now.

So, as I prepare for my second book to release this summer, I savor the memory of what it felt like to hold that first book in my hands, to finally have it in print on my shelf.  I can’t help but know it’ll never be the same, and yet, something about imagining seeing that second book on the shelf is just as exciting in a new way.  After all, having a second book out is something I’ve never done before, too.

Have you ever had something really exciting happen only to discover you were sad you didn’t have it to look forward to anymore?  How did it change your perspective?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Heh.  Two months since my last weekly blog post.  Fitting.  Also a nice segue into what I'm here to talk about today.  See, I do this thing where I slam through my writing projects and make monster progress for a few months, and then... crickets.

Right now, I'm coming off crickets.

Since my kids started school last fall, I self-published one book (an art project), wrote another book, and edited a third.  And then in December, I took a break.  Kind of a 'catch my breath during the holidays' sort of thing. If you want to know the truth, besides Christmas and everything, I spent most of that month vegging out on Skyrim.  In case you haven't heard of it, it's the best damn video game of all time.  For real.  And it took me well into January to finish most everything.  Then my birthday came, and my amazingly sweet and hot wife gave me a banjo.  Because I just love the hell out of some Mumford & Sons.

So yeah, my 'holiday sabbatical' lasted until Valentine's day.  And here's what I have to show for it:


No, I'm not done playing the banjo.  I just feel like I've reached a sort of a hurdle.  Confident enough to back off a bit and spend the bulk of my free time doing what I'm supposed to be doing: writerly stuff.  Until summer, anyway.  Cuz that's a whole new sabbatical.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"The Next Big Thing" Blog hop

I like memes.  I really do.  They're an easy blog post, and they give me a good opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects -- me.  So go ahead, friendly-friends.  Tag me in all the memes you want. 

Today, it's 'The Next Big Thing' blog hop, courtesy of my excellent Michigan writer buddy, Sarah Perry.  Thanks, lady, and by the way, I noticed the link to Elfhame on your blog.  So double thanks, times two.  (That's right -- exponential gratitude).

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

1. What is the working title of your book?  

"Oneironaut."  I'm not married to it, though.  It's a real term that means 'explorer of the dream world', and while it's a really appropriate title, people seem to be having trouble with it.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I get these amazing lucid dreams when I take naps in the middle of my writing day.  Seriously haunting, tactile, resonant, lucid dreams, where I fly, and float through walls, and change the very laws of physics on impulse.  So I knew had to write a book about them.  Also, I just wanted to write a book where mundane objects have unexpected and extraordinary powers (ever see the miniseries, 'The Lost Room'? -- completely made of awesome).  So that, plus lucid dreaming, equals Oneironaut.

3. What genre does your book fall under?  

Young adult contemporary fantasy, I guess.  Though there's no magic or traditionally 'fantastic' elements.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I'm blanking on this one.  I don't really know many actors, or much about Hollywood, in general.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A young man crippled by physical and emotional disabilities finds that in the dream world, he's strong and free and powerful, and can take hold of certain objects and carry them into the real world: objects with strange powers.  (If it has to be one sentence, you should expect a lot of conjunctions.)

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  

Traditionally published, all the way.  I don't know where, and I don't know when, but after fifteen years of hard work and sacrifice, I don't plan to settle for anything less.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm gonna say eight weeks, though there was a two year delay in the middle.  (While I had an agent and we were messing around with an earlier project).

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  

The "Dream Catcher" series by Lisa McMann, and The "Dreamhunter Duet" by Elizabeth Knox.  Though these books are very different, they're YA, and they're about dreams.  (Mine has no romance -- actually there's a disturbing lack of female characters in general).

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I typically only get 5-6 hours of sleep per night, so a lot of times, in the middle of my writing day, I take a half-hour to an hour nap. Turns out I've been inadvertantly doing something called 'polyphasic sleeping', which has been shown to increase the incidence of lucid dreaming. So yeah, between that, and the fact that I interrupt the most creative part of my day to sleep, I've always had wild, amazing, kick-ass lucid dreams during my writing-naps. This book pays homage to them.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I did a lot of research into dreams, both the psychological and physiological aspects of it, and I like to think that while they're enjoying the story, readers might also learn something from Oneironaut.  Like how to 'lucid dream' for example.  If you've never had a lucid dream... you're really missing out on something amazing.


My 'five' writer-buddy tags:

Vivi Bickell
Monica Murphy
Mary Paddock
Anita Laydon-Miller
Heather Kelly

'Newcomer to Wordslinger' bonus tag:
Terri K Rowe

(and here's what you 'five' writers need to know to participate:)

Rules of The Next Big Thing

***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's National Novel Writing Month...

...and I'm a contender.  For those who haven't heard of Nanowrimo before,
"National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved."

So we're eleven days into it, and technically I'm 'losing' at this point (note the par-level word-count bar which taunts me daily), but the good news is that I'm finishing one of my older, unfinished stories. And that's my actual goal -- just getting one more on the shelf.  According to Nano's rules, unless you start a new story on page one, you're what they call a 'rogue', so yes... I, Ray Veen, have gone 'rogue'.  But that's not so bad either.  Who minds being called a 'rogue'? Really, that just ups my street cred: "Ray Veen -- Writing Rogue".  Almost as cool as 'Ray Veen -- Wordslinger'.  But I digress.

The reasons I'm posting today are two-fold:

  1. To give the thousands of slavering, 'Ray-Veen-obsessed' lurkers out there some idea of where I'm at in my writing.  My official status is thus: cranking out a new project while my last project is out for beta.  Letting it simmer until it's time to do the next round of editing.
  2. Trolling for encouragement.  Because if I lose Nano again this year, it'll be my seventh in a row.
All right, slavering lurkers.  Time to not blow up my comment box.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anyone want to read my new book?

Not my recently, self-published book.  I'm talking about one I finished last summer -- the next one I'm going to send off to literary agents and such to try to get a traditional publishing deal.  I've been editing it for the past few months, and while it's not real smooth yet, it is presentable.  I'm looking for willing volunteers to take a look at it, and give me feedback, so I can fix all the stupid mistakes I've missed but are surely there before real industry professionals start reading it and subsequently scoff at all the afore-mentioned stupid mistakes and throw my story in the trash.  Or click delete or whatever -- in a derisive sort of way.

The story is called Oneironaut.  It's a young-adult contemporary fantasy about objects in the dreamworld that can be carried into the waking world.  Click the 'Oneironaut' tab at the top of my blog to read the full description.

So what do you think?  Interested?  If so, email me at and say "I'm in".  Be sure to use the email account you want it sent to, and let me know if you prefer a Word document, or a PDF (which you can move to your e-reader).

Also -- thanks.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Elfhame" book release

After two years of collaboration, Nancy and I are pleased to announce the release of our self-published, illustrated, middle-grade fantasy novel -- 'Elfhame'.  It's available now.  On Amazon.  

Go get it.  

(Or read this first, and then go get it -- either way).

She knows her mother’s name is Carowyn, she knows their home is at the bottom of a green valley, and she knows that a monstrous changeling currently resides there – sleeping in her bed, eating her meals, living her life under the sun with her mother.
Abducted when she was just a baby, Xierna has known only hardship and labor in the twilight realms of Elfhame. To the men of the Upworld, Elfhame is myth, a tale for children as they’re tucked into bed. But this is where Xierna has lived her entire life, as a slave, insulted and mistreated by her dark masters. Home to the elder races of fae, Elfhame is divided into thirteen peculiar territories, ‘brughs’, connected by a series of enchanted door-chambers. Xierna knows the ancient path through them, she’s ‘acquired’ the proper pass-warde, and when she gets her chance to escape, nothing will stop her from finding her way to the sun. And then on to the green valley with her home and her mother.
She’s made a solemn vow to “get free… or die trying”.



How this book came to be:

Perhaps you've heard of 'changelings'?  The monstrous things left behind when capricious faeries come in the night, and steal a baby from its crib?  I'm sorry -- you thought faeries were good and kind and sprinkled fairy dust around to help make flowers grow?  Afraid not.  If Disney presented faeries the way folklore portrays them,  their movies would be dark, twisted, disturbing things.  Our children would wake up every night crying because they'd had nightmares about the nasty little creatures.  Irish folklore, in particular, is full of stories of changelings, and what people did to drive the monstrous 'crimbals' away.  In my research, however, I found no mention of what became of the infants that were stolen.  In my imagination, they were either raised as slaves, or eaten, and that's where the idea behind this book took root.  (From the slavery angle -- not the other thing).  

Originally written in 2007, I set Elfhame aside for a while to work on young adult projects.  For some reason though, it always occupied a special, mushy, child-like place in my heart.  It's always been one of my favorite stories, and I always kind of fantasized about what it would like if the book were illustrated.  And then in 2009, after my 20-year class reunion, I learned that my one buddies had married a talented artist.  In 2010, I approached said 'talented artist', and asked if she would interested in collaborating on an "art-project" -- a middle-grade fantasy novel -- with the eventual goal of self-publishing. 

She told me, "No way.  Get lost, loser."

Joking.  She accepted, obviously, because if she hadn't, I wouldn't have the pleasure of writing this blog post today.  Without boring you with too many details, I will say that the collaborative process, though lengthy, was a smooth one for us.  Nancy truly is a gifted artist.  And fortunately, she has the patience of saint.  There were many instances where I asked her to do certain illustrations over and over because they didn't quite mesh with my all-important 'vision'.  Luckily she stuck with, and kept cranking the drawings out, and never got the first ruffled feather when I told her I was less than thrilled with one of her pieces.  Long-story-short, here we are, two years later, finally with a published novel.  

As I said before, this is mainly a project book for us, and neither of us has the ambition to do the footwork that self-publishing requires.   We're just happy to have it out there, and this one blog post is the sum total of our entire 'marketing strategy'.  If you feel so inclined, however, Nancy and I would appreciate any shares or re-posts.  Ideally, we'd like you to use the cover image, book description, and link, but hey... you're the one doing the favor.  

"Always let your conscience be your guide."  (see what I did there?)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book review: "The Eleventh Plague", by Jeff Hirsch

I've said this before, but reading is escapism for me, and when I want to escape, I generally want to explore worlds very much unlike my own.  Usually that implies the supernatural or worlds where the laws of nature are skewed or blurred, but not always.  Sometimes I just want to see a different version of the world I already live in, or rather, how strange our world has the potential to become.

For me, THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE hit that sweet spot.

It's the world I live in, yes, but a chilling, near-future version, so transformed by plague and war as to be unrecognizeable.  And yet there are familiar, well-placed details: a dilapidated Starbucks covered in vines, the golden arches, bleached-out atop a rusted pole.  Unsettling combinations of the familiar and the surreal reminiscent of the head of the Statue of Liberty at the end of 'Planet of the Apes'.  And that, in a nutshell, is the overall texture of The Eleventh Plague. 

I was truly impressed by Hirsch's ability to create such a tangible and tactile world in so few words.  For me, that was one of the main strengths of this book.  I'm sure any reader would agree that when the description transports you so thoroughly, making you utterly forget your own world ever existed, that alone makes it worth the read.  Like Gary Paulsen or Cormac McCarthy, Hirsch doesn't drone on with detail after detail.  It's just the right amount, at just the right time, and always well phrased.

I'd say that factor extends beyond his descriptive skills and applies to every aspect of his writing: the right element, at the right time, and in the right proportion.  I scanned a couple other reviews and saw that not everybody was pleased with the plot.  I would have to disagree.  It certainly wasn't a long book, but a lot happens in a short amount of time, and even one more plot point would have been too much.  Just like one more character would have been too many, and one more paragraph of internal monologue would have been tedious. 

Also with regards to plot, plenty of interesting stuff happens to this book's hero, Stephen, but equally fascinating is the evolution of his character -- the emotional journey he takes, the hard choices he makes.  At times he takes his need to survive to a sociopathic level like his grandfather, other times, he chooses to hope in the face of overwhelming despair.  I found myself alternately rooting for him and wishing he'd straighten up and stop acting like a jackass.  Its all very poignant, and compelling, and overall, well executed.

In short, from page one, Hirsch's writing is consistantly tight, the characters are unique and believable, and the story-telling is gripping yet brisk, without skimping on the twists and surprises.  Pretty much everything a reader hopes to get out of a book.  I would absolutely recommend this one.

Now on to check out Hirsch's supernatural work, 'Magesterium'.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beware the "Next Blog"

Ever click on Blogger's 'next blog' button?  I don't either.  Not in a few years anyway.  I read too many blogs as it is -- God knows I don't need to find one more to add to the list.  But for some reason, just now, I got this uncanny urge, and I clicked the 'next blog' button before I could stop myself.  Much to my surprise, I found myself at a very quaint and charmingly-written writer's blog.  Beautiful language, beautiful expression, beautiful sentiment.  I went to the comments to give them some well-deserved praise, and guess what the people there were talking about?

The untimely death of the poor blogger.

The moral to this story?  The 'next blog' button is cursed.  Never click a 'next blog' button, under any circumstances.  The 'next blog' button at the top of my page?  Absolutely off limits. 

I'm not kidding.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Boys don't read

It's old news.

Publishers are saying it, agents are saying it, other writers are saying it.  Maybe the only people who aren't saying it are actual teenage dudes, and we all know they're just defending themselves so we won't make them get off the X-box.  My son, anyway.

I've been hearing it for a while now, and as a guy who's written thirteen unpublished books aimed squarely at boys, it's always troubled me to some extent.  But no more than, say, the national debt or Stargate Universe getting cancelled after two seasons.  It's always seemed pretty much out of my control, so I've gone about my business, doing what I do, rolling how I roll, and just kind of hoping things would get better at some point.  (Which technically makes me complacent.  Try not to judge.)  Over these last couple days, though, it seems as though the universe itself has been bombarding me with constant reminders, messages both subliminal and cosmic.  "You ain't gettin published, doofus -- you know that, right?"

Yeah, the universe is being kind of a jerk about it.  Even when I nod, and say I got it -- it still won't shut up about the whole thing.  I'm almost tempted to be discouraged.

I'm not, though.  Wanna know why?

Too bad.  You'll have to keep reading my blog for like three more minutes to get the answer.

First, something morbidly fascinating.  To me, anyway.  I work in surgery, so my idea of 'morbid' might be a little different than yours, but here are two pictures I took on my way home from work last night:

What you are seeing is the YA section at my local Walmart.  The reason Walmart is important is because, 1: fabulous people like me shop there, and 2: the way books make it to their shelves is pretty simple -- if it's making money, up it goes.  I don't know how well you can zoom in on these, but if you can, what you will find is a whole lot of pictures of girl's faces, and a lot of bylines with lady names.  My two photos may not be a fair representation of the entire YA market, but take note of this -- there is only one male author in each frame.  And one of them, Pittacus Lore, claims to be from an enlightened planet called Lorien.  He's not even human -- he's from an advanced race of aliens with psuedo-magical powers.  So how could an average father-of-four, who drives a minivan back and forth to his two jobs, expect to have a realistic chance of getting his book on any shelf?  Much less the wellborn bastion of literature that is Walmart?

So you know, the trip to Walmart was not the entire impetus for this here blog post.  This came after perusing the 'top 100 bestsellers in teens' at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, then reading agent Mary Kole's blog post, 'Contemporary YA for Boy Audiences' (in which she mentions Steve Brezenoff, one of the contributors to the 'Boys Don't Read' blog), also after visiting the YA section at Meijers (local big box store, only more upscale, like Target with nicer shelving).  The specifics of the universe and its incessant bullying are not the point, what I'm talking about here is the undeniable cascade of recent evidence reinforcing the thing we've all known for a long time.  The thing I re-discovered when I finished the last of the books on my Kindle and went looking for something that might be fresh and new in my genre.

Boys don't read.

And personally, I don't see anyone making strong effort to draw them back in.

So why am I not discouraged?

In all honesty, I probably should be.  On one hand, I'm happy for female authors in general  It's your time, ladies.  You've earned it.  We've come a long way from the days when women had to use their initials or male pseudonyms in order to get their books published, and I think that's pure win.  But on the other hand, things look exceedingly grim for dudes who write books for younger dudes.  Said dudes (of the former variety) might be tempted to retire their quills and take up X-box controllers of their own. But as much as I adore Lara Croft and the lands of Cyrodil, there's still one thing that keeps me going.

I would love to be published, obviously, but that's not really it.  That's not what's sustained me all these years.  When it's all said and done, I wrote my thirteen books for one reason -- because I freaking love to write.  Market trends and publishing potential aside, it's a hobby that is rewarding as hell.  Even if nobody reads my stuff except my mom, my wife, and my co-workers (sometimes my own teenage dude -- when he's sick of playing the games he's beaten), I just love writing.  I write what I like, and I love what I write.  I think I was just hard-wired to make up wild stories, so I plan on doing it for the rest of my life -- whether anyone reads them or not.  (I've actually written at least one entire novel that nobody's ever laid eyes on.)  In the end... really?  Boy's don't read?

Doesn't matter.

This boy gets off on writing.

So I hope you didn't start this blog post expecting something more substantial.  Like the secret to getting boys to read, or anything like that.  I am really not that guy.  But don't go away mad, because there is some reason for hope.  All 'A' are not 'B.  It is a logical fallacy to say that 'all boys do not read'.  Some do.  And certain books get published specifically for them.  Why not mine?  Why not yours?  Because it really is happening, at times, a little.  To some extent.  Want another thing to consider?  Rapidly changing technology rapidly changes the world.  It might not seem like it now, but these trends could turn around faster than any of us would think possible.  Maybe they're just waiting for the right books by the right authors.  Maybe they're waiting for a game-changing angle nobody's thought of yet.  Or maybe they're just waiting for X-box to release an app that lets them download ebooks.

Just imagine how many new boy readers we'd have then.

You'd need all your fingers and toes to count them.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Help me "get" Twitter

I want to tweet.  I really do.  I've even already had a Twitter account for over a year now.  I check in semi-regularly to read up on all the cool and interesting folks I follow -- book folk, mostly -- all people I'd like to get to know better, and cyber-befriend, and you know... 'network' with.  But when it comes to posting or commenting or whatever, I can't quite bring myself to dive in.  Forgive the nerdy sci-fi analogy, but to me, Twitter is like this heavily populated, alien planet, and I'm trying to land a shuttle there.  The problem is the world's so busy, and spinning so quickly, every time I try to penetrate the atmosphere, I skive off and carom back into space.

I should really say this: I'm interested in the people I follow as people, not just networking opportunities.  I'm a friendly guy.  I dig rapport in all its myriad, wondrous forms.  And if it helps make connections in the publishing industry, so much the better -- book folk tend to be interesting as hell.  I would like to advance my writing career as well, and these days, every article on the subject recommends social networking.  Specifically blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.  And as near as I can tell, the real party is on Twitter.

Therefore, I too, would like to partake of the party.

Here are my primary tweeting deterrents:

  1. It seems like most Tweeters are checking in multiple times every day.  Don't know if I can commit to that.  I've got way too much non-internet life going on, know what I mean?  Writing itself is a big time-sacrifice.
  2. Even if I made the time to faithfully tweet, what could I possibly contribute?  I come up with a Facebook status like once a week.  And you know my track record with this blog.  I can comment like hell on other people's posts when I feel like it, but when it comes to originating anything, well... I don't want to be like the guy who's tweets I was reading a few days ago -- #1, I want a cheeseburger -- #2, I'm in a drivethru getting a cheeseburger -- #3, this cheeseburger sucks -- #4, I hate the place that made this cheeseburger and we should all boycott them and put them out of business.  
  3. Most of the book folk I follow devote many of their tweets to promoting their projects: releases and appearances and reviews and things.  I have none of that.  Which leaves me feeling distinctly unqualified to commiserate.  Like in middle school when all the other kids had their pumped-up kicks (props if you get that reference).  It really does seem like a lunch table, and all I have to bring to it is the fact that I still write, even after many years of many unpublished books.  I maybe shouldn't try to shoulder my way into a seat, you know?
  4. The final reason I'm reluctant to tweet -- "Author platform".  What the hell is that, anyway?  Isn't it supposed to be where you connect with potential readers?  How much does that really happen on Twitter?  Realistically, how many readers get on Twitter to follow writers they haven't read and haven't heard of?  Someone please explain how that's supposed to work, because I'm obviously missing that angle.  And really, I shouldn't tweet if I don't understand what I'm doing.  What if I do it wrong?  What if my shuttle's thrusters accidentally spark a fire in the Twitter-planet's atmosphere and it sweeps through the domain and slays all the inhabitants?  I'd just feel bad, you know?  All my Twitter friends would just be gone.

So there it is.  'Ray's musings on all things Twitter-related'.  The reason I wrote this post, and not an update of my various writing projects (as was promised last week) is because I really want to get into it, but I need some guidance first.  Anyone out there have any advice for me?  Can you answer any of questions?  Placate any of my insecurities?  I'd sure appreciate it.  Disclaimer-wise, in case you caught any anti-Twitter sentiment up there, you should know that I have nothing against it.  In fact, I have a sort of a sick, stalker-ish fascination for it.  I'm just a little skeptical as to whether or not Twitter is appropriate for me, or for my 'author platform'.  Whatever that is.

Your thoughts on that?

(and, um... hashtags?)