Books: so much more appealing when they have covers

Occasionally I take a post off from Daddy Blogging in order to talk about blogging or writing in general. This usually happens when another blogger tags me for some type of event that’s going around the blogging community. Then, I put the kids to bed and talk about my blogging process or the writing life.

This is like that, but different. I’m taking off the Daddy Blogger hat, but not at the behest of other bloggers. I’m doing it on my own, in order to make some exciting announcements.

The thing about me and announcements is I’m not very good at them. They make me nervous. People will know my plans, so now I have to follow through on them. I’d rather finish my projects and then say, “See? That’s what I did.” But that doesn’t build any hype, and hype is part of marketing, and marketing is what you’re supposed to do at times like this. So I’m told by successful writers.

And I want to be successful.

So, announcements.

We have cover art!

Last time I took off the Daddy Blogger hat, I mentioned that I’m working on publishing a new book. It seems like I’ve been working on publishing this book forever. One of the delays was finding the right artist to do the cover. I finally found her. Her name is Jessica O’Brien. She did this awesome artwork.




I just have to get the final proofing done and we’ll finally have a book. Cross your fingers.

And when will this final proofing be done? Ha! You actually expect a man with my dread of announcements to give a date? Don’t worry; I’ll make an announcement.

I’m working on a new blog.

As part of this book rollout, I’ve replaced my author website with a new WordPress blog. My static website was a completely amateurish endeavor, built by me, a completely amateurish web designer. In moving to WordPress I hope to do more with less (time and money). That savings should allow me to maintain two blogs at once. We’ll see about that, won’t we?

At the other blog, I will be writing about writing. If that’s the sort of thing that excites you, you probably have issues, so you should go here and click “follow” right away.

This blog will remain.

I’m proud of this blog. It’s not the most widely read blog, but I think it has its entertaining moments. (Click the Index of Posts tab at the top to see everywhere it’s been.) But when you are trying to publish a book, write another one, transition a website, work a full-time job, and raise three boys, time can get tight. (Note to the homeowners association: this has nothing to do with why my lawn is eight inches high; it rains every time I try to mow, so tell it to the weatherman.)

I cut down to posting once per week here over the summer. Maybe once my obsession with this new book eases, I’ll be able to post more. I hope so, because Daddy Blogging is the most fun writing I do.

P.S. My apologies to those who read the title and thought this would be a fun post about toddlers tearing the covers off books.


Going on tour by sitting in the same spot

I’m doing something a little different this time.

Fellow blogger, Naptimethoughts, has invited me to join something called the Writing Process Blog Tour. This “tour” involves me sitting in a chair and answering four questions about how I write. Then, I ask two other bloggers to do the same thing. In the end, I think some psychologist will come along and coin a new phrase for the mental disease that makes people want to blog, if narcissism isn’t enough to cover it.

sweet music

I banish Ethel to the porch, fire up my favorite pipe, and tap it out like sweet music. (Image: Harris & Ewing)

It’s always an honor to be asked to participate in a harebrained scheme by another blogger, especially one who is witty and writes things you enjoy reading. Keep up the good work, Naptimethoughts.

But why would I discuss writing on a blog about parents and children? Out of ideas? Filler?

Well maybe. But this is also a blog about writing. If you haven’t noticed it, that’s good. If you don’t think about how the words got on the computer screen, it means I’ve done something right.

Now that we’ve established the motive, let’s move on to the crime. Here is the info you probably (and rightfully) never cared about.

  • What am I working on now?

For starters, I am always working on this blog – trying to transport fragile, funny episodes from my memory to your computer screen without busting them into a million un-funny pieces with inadequate writing.

Beyond that, I am hoping to publish a new novel this year. This one is titled, A Housefly in Autumn. It’s a Young Adult book, or at least I think it is. I’ve never published YA before, so I’m a little anxious about it. Right now I’m trying to arrange for cover art, formatting, and all the other things that go into making a manuscript into a book.

I am also writing the first draft of another book. This one is also in a new genre for me, so I’m not going to say much, because it could turn out to be total crap, in which case you will hear no more about it.

  • How does my work differ from others in the genre?

There are lots of entertaining parenting blogs out there. If there is one way in which my blog is different from them, I’d have to say it’s that I don’t use the F-word as much. It turns out parents like to swear a lot when they talk about their kids. Go figure!

My fiction is different mostly because I like to write across genres. I do humor and drama, contemporary and historical. I even have a novel manuscript squirreled away that borders on science fiction.

a smile throug a tear

Humor and drama; historical, contemporary, and futuristic – all in one book. Variety is just one of the reasons I love short stories. (And that’s my self-promotion for the day!)

More about this.

  • Why do I write what I do?

I don’t know why I write at all. Writing is hard. It makes me tired and I’d rather be playing games. As far as what I write, I write what seems like a good story in my head, whether it’s a true story or something I just dreamed up. Sometimes it is still a good story when it gets to paper, sometimes not.

I most enjoy reading humor and history, so that probably influences the things I choose to write about and the way I approach the process. I like reading classics too. I wish that meant that I write classics.

feeling classical

Sometimes, when I’m feeling classical, I just slip on my writing tights and let go.

  • How does my writing process work?

I’m not sure it does work. I try to set a little time aside most days for fiction. Blog posts I fit in whenever I can. With three boys under six, time can be tight.

They say you find time for the things that are your priorities. I find time for my family and a few paragraphs here and there. This explains why my lawn looks like hell and I’ve always had a day job instead of a career in something.

Little by little, I finish manuscripts, and then I spend a long time figuring out what to do with them. Some of them I put away for later. Once in a while, I publish one. If I ever find the talent, time, and money for effective marketing, you might hear about one of them.

Until then, there’s always this blog. And it’s free!


Then I simply hand the manuscript over to my agent, and the rest takes care of itself.

Now it’s time to recruit some partners in crime.

For that I turn to Pieter at Ah dad. Pieter writes funny commentary about many topics, but when he writes about his family, there is a heartfelt quality about his blogging that emanates right through the computer screen to you. Plus, he’s in the Southern Hemisphere, and if I understand geography, that means he does everything upside down.

Also, Jon, from South of the Strait. A lot a bloggers talk humor at you, but Jon writes humor. His wit doesn’t gang tackle you. It’s a storyteller’s wit, thoroughly mixed in, not bunched up around the exclamation points. I like that.

Gentlemen, I leave it to you. If you want in on this boondoggle, just answer these four questions and pass the buck to two more victims honorees.

One year of Snoozing on the Sofa: Are you feeling refreshed yet?

Today is the one –year anniversary of my first blog post. This is my 80th post, which means that I have hurled my precious nuggets of fatherhood at you about 1.53 time each week. I hope that I’ve helped you hone your ducking and dodging skills.

The pages of this blog have been viewed a bit more than 6,000 times. That’s a modest number to serious bloggers, but I think it’s quite a feat to attract people to weed through 6,000 junkyards of completely useless information. It must be my charm.

Anniversaries are a time for reflection and acknowledgement. Therefore:

What (I think) I’ve done right

I’ve tried to make all of my posts worth your time. I’ve worked to make my posts substantive, amusing, and identifiable. Sorry I couldn’t make them informative as well, but I know my limits. I’ve done my best to add interesting images to break up the monotony of my tiresome words, and I’ve always responded to comments as intelligibly as I was able to at the moment.

What I’ve probably done wrong

I can’t get the hang of mentioning my blog to new people I meet within the first minute of meeting them. I am not a great self-promoter. If you don’t believe me, ask any of the people who don’t know about my books. I guess I just wasn’t raised to be the type of guy who goes around whipping out his blog in public.


My wife and my boys. This is really their blog. They write all the worthwhile material. I’m just the guy who inserts all the filler in between the good parts.

The Library of Congress. The good people at LOC have come through many times when I just didn’t have the right photograph for a post. LOC has been an invaluable resource for amusing, old (and most importantly, royalty-free) photos.

Man in sleeping bag

Taking a snooze on the sofa was a crude activity in the olden days. Fatherhood was probably a bit more rustic too. (Image: Joseph J. Kirkbride) WordPress may not be perfect, but it beats the hell out of trying to do this from scratch. There are limitations, but overall I think they make it ridiculously easy to do what I do here.

My fellow bloggers. I’ve met many wonderful bloggers. We share a labor of love (i.e. we don’t make any money off it). Support from these hard-working folks is the perfect tonic for those moments when you get to thinking it really would be better for everyone if you traded blogging for running a moonshine still in the back yard.

You. Your visits, comments, likes, Facebook shares, etc. keep this blog going. Otherwise, I would be scribbling lines about my family into a notebook, where they would collect dust. Because of you, these notes have a life they never would have had. Thank you. If you are new here, I invite you to dig into the archives and discover the path that has led to this moment. If you’ve been here before, welcome, old friend. I hope to entice all of you back very soon, and don’t feel shy about bringing a friend.

writing blog at computer

Exclusive behind-the-scenes photo of the making of this blog. The scotch is just a prop. I don’t use it to blog; I have to save every drop of it for when I need to do some top-shelf parenting.