Hi everybody!

I’ve recently stopped “renting” and “bought my own home” — moving the blog to my own URL. As of today, no more posts here.

Plenty of new content at the new home, with a new look and all sorts of other new and exciting stuff.

Please update your subscriptions, etc. accordingly. I’d hate to miss you.

The URL is:

I hope to see you there!





Review: Death Masks

So here’s the thing about Jim Butcher. He’s not a great writer. Jim uses phrases and vocabulary choices out of workshops for how not to imitate pulp writers. He’s straight-up B to B+ on a good day. Uses adverbs when simple description would be better. Chooses overly dramatic words like “gaze” and “horrific.” Tags his dialog with Tom Swifties, even when he’s not making a joke.


His pacing keeps me reading, piling on the tension and the fun. His characters are deep and interesting, even though sometimes archetypical. He uses legend — ancient and urban — in a way that adds texture and meaning to his books. I like Harry Dresden. A lot.

In this particular episode, he’s up against the Forces of Evil in the form of fallen angels. Fights along side some bad-ass knights and ends up shutting down O’Hare Airport for a few hours. A romp through mythology and mayhem you just don’t see so much anymore. Jim’s having fun. I’m having fun. So what it it isn’t Shakespeare?

Death Masks ranks between Bite Me and Ned the Seal  on this year’s fiction reading list, coming it at #4 for the year. It’s likely I’ll binge read the next few Harrys, so in fairness I’ll probably treat the series as one entry going forward.

If you’re new to Harry Dresden, start with Fool Moon. The basic premise is as follows. Imagine the world posited in Harry Potter, with all its magic and supernatural skulduggery. Imagine an adult wizard living in that world. Imagine he’s a pulp noir P.I. in Chicago.

That’s all you need to know.

TPS Report

Accountability went well this week on paper, but was primarily the result of a hard push this weekend. I seem to be falling into the habit of waiting until last minute, treating this weekly blog post like a college term paper deadline.  I may need to address the system and find a solution to that. Or get more aggressive about making sure I schedule my week appropriately.

At any rate, weekly progress report.

  • 6 of 6 “chunks” of money-earning content written
  • 5 of 5 acts of marketing: arranging link exchanges, applying for work, blog comments
  • 2 of 4 units of work on blogs. This has been a problem, but it’s not work load based. I’m stalling myself.
  • 3 of 3 units of work on book and article proposals.
  • 2 of 2 sessions of administrative work.
  • 1 piece of education action: expanded my understanding of SEO
Thanks for listening.

Friday Fun: Harry Potter Day!

In about 30 minutes, my boy and I are heading out to see the new Harry Potter  movie. Although I wasn’t thrilled with #5 or #6, I’m excited. Like all good people, I’m a fan of the books. Even if they weren’t enjoyable and generally well done, we have Rowling to thank for single-handedly revitalizing children’s fiction.

In celebration, here’s a link to Harry Potter Humor. Some funny, some weird, a few not safe for work.



Cross Promotion

The publishers for my travel guide have been at it for a while, so they know how to promote a book. For example, my point of contact got an article in the Huffington Post about “Under The Radar Tourist Towns” featuring my location — Astoria — and other titles in their stable.

See it here:

Several points make this a genius move:

  1. HuffPost is a major news website, meaning he got the word out to a passel of potential purchasers.
  2. The format made it so easy to write, he probably banged it out in half an hour.
  3. Because it’s a news source, it lends the message authority.
  4. Appearing in a news website positions the publisher as a travel expert.
  5. He might have gotten paid. Unlikely with the HuffPost, but the theory is sound.
I used to do similar when I ran a martial arts school, by writing self-defense articles for local newspapers and magazines. You see the major movie studios doing the same by turning their upcoming blockbusters into newsy pieces in the glossies and on TV.
Challenge for the day: come up with three ideas to get somebody to pay you for promoting your work. Write proposals and get paid for one of them.
Thanks for listening.

Accountability in the Clinch

I worked a 14 hour day to meet my accountability goals this weekend, and am finishing up with this post right here. This week:

6 units of writing, including 3 today.
5 acts of marketing, mostly emails and blog comments
3 units of work on my blogs (1 less than goal)
2 units of work on work proposals (1 less than goal)
2 sessions of admin work: scheduling and financial forecasting
1 education action — this week, I listened to a podcast on writing that’s not part of my regular routine

Close to done, and I got a lot of housework finished instead — including moving a hot tub three blocks with the help of loyal minions.

Thanks for being my de facto confessional and sounding board, and as always…

… thanks for listening.

Friday Fun: David Quammen

I want to be David Quammen when I grow up. He’s a professional writer who spent most of his life getting paid by magazines like National Geographic and Outside to go on adventures and write about them. He’s written about crows in Seattle, corpse fruit in the Pacific and hiking through the Congolese jungle.

More recently, he finished a fun and compelling biography of Charles Darwin.

Here we have him addressing Case Western University as part of the Darwin Year lecture series. It’s longer, but worth it. The man is as engaging a speaker as he is a writer.