Writing Forever


I know you know this, so I guess there’s not much point to telling you about it. But, well, there it is, isn’t it?

I’ve been hating on my book, DROPPINGTON PLACE. Okay, well, not on the book itself, but on the writing of it. Some days it’s a blast, and the words flow like sweet cherry wine. The next day comes the roadblock, the stumbling block, the block of ice that freezes our soul and stalls us just plain dead in our tracks. I hate that block, too.

In my story, the characters explore a surrealistic world made entirely of paper. Their path takes them down, well, a path. So, how do we walk down this path?

Walking, and walking, and walking becomes so dull that even I can’t stand to write it.

Instead of walking and walking, the camera drifts up into the sky and looks down on them, telling us where they’ve been and what they’ve seen.

And THAT, my writer friend, is exactly where the roadblock landed. Flooomph, like a big rock in the highway to Interesting Storyland, we stepped out of the lives of the characters, the story became wooden and dull, and no fun to write. And, if you don’t have fun writing a piece, however is your reader going to enjoy it?

Ding-dong. Hello, Mr. Dimwit? Your brain is calling.

It’s a scene, of course. The answer is to place scenes along the path. Scenes that move the story forward even as they move the characters down the road. Cool, huh?

Biggity-big-big-bigger question.

Why do this? Why do you care about great paragraphs, and storylines, and why is it so important for you to put your thoughts on paper?

Why? Why must you publish your book? If writing is so important to you, why don’t you just write and write and let it go at that.

Okay, so maybe it’s not the writing, is it? It’s the reading.

You write your ideas and stories so that others will enjoy, will learn, will see the world in a new way. Isn’t that so?

So, here’s the rub: if you are so concerned about your reader seeing the world in a new way as a result of your work, why put your name on it? Okay, so it’s not just the reading. It’s the fame.

Before we go too far into our writer’s tools and processes, let us get this straight:

You and I are reaching for the brass ring of immortality.

Think about Shakespeare, a household word. Shakespearian theater. It defines a whole category of acting, of playwriting, of presentation. Why isn’t that you?

It could be. If your book is successful, if you find the right combination of story and character, you, my dear reader friend, could be the next Shakespeare, your name whispered and hailed and venerated for generations to come.

That’s immortality for us.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?

Writing is a business. Success is not measured by finished works. It’s measured by works sold. Sold. Sounds bad, but it is the business.

Sell a million books and you’re doing good. Sell a million books a year and you’re on your way. Sell a million books a year and get a movie deal, and household wordism isn’t far away.

Isn’t that what you want? That’s what I want. I don’t think it will happen, but that doesn’t make me want it any less, or make me work any less hard in trying to get there.

So, go finish your book. Write well. I’m finishing mine. Maybe you’ll read it – maybe I’ll read yours. Maybe yours is so good that Disney is dialing the phone this very instant to make you the next Stephen King.

Hey, it could happen! Immortality could be that close. I’m sitting by the phone.

Marketing Ploy: Chapter Added


Okay, no lies here. Only the straight up truth. Something inside says to publish the chapters of this book, one miserable week at at time, until the book is laid completely before you. So, submitted for your approval, MARIGOLD’S END, Chapter 3. You’ll find it over there, on the left, under the title MARIGOLD’S END, the Novel. See how it works?

So, why publish chapters of the book. Once you’ve read it, you’re not likely to buy, like, a dozen copies. Maybe you could – they make great Christmas presents and passable doorstops – but no one is holding their breath.

No, it’s something more fundamental than marketing. What is the WWW if not the marketplace of the world. What is the Internet, and the ability to publish whatever, whenever, if not a way to float ideas, to share thoughts, to trade our works of art with one another?

In Shakespeare’s time, he published his own work through a publisher, hoping that it would sell. But more than just hoping for a little quick cash, a little Elizabethan jingle-in-the-jeans, he had to write, had to publish, had to share his words.

You’re a writer, you understand. You do the blog thing as a way to express yourself.

More, this is marketing. While I want you to read this book, and  DROPPINGTON PLACE, my next book, I really want to impress in your mind that my books are good and entertaining and worth the paltry shekels one shells out for them. I’m not marketing these books, but their children.

Which, according to gorilla marketing, means I’m not marketing at all, but publicizing.  You, John or Jane Q. Public – isn’t it weird that John and Jane have the same middle initial? It must be Quincy – are not being marketed, but are reading a fine piece of publicity. No pictures, please.

So, go on over and click on MARIGOLD’S END, the Novel, and breeze through Chapter 3. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Oh, and enjoy the publicity. No pictures, please.

BN Marketing Promise Kept


I’d say this promise is kept by popular demand, but you, dear reader, and I both know that that’s not true, for there is only you and me in this cruel-hearted world. Please place your beer here – _____ – for crying into, later. For we have work to do now.

First and foremost: below you will find the outline for my book, DROPPINGTON PLACE, precisely as promised in yesterday’s post on Bare Naked Marketing. An important part of marketing, of course, is delivering on your promises. Some of those promises are implied. If you shell out several dollars for a Yugo, that the car has a steering wheel is implied, along with seats and a suitably tame headliner.   But a promise like “I will share this with you,” well, that’s a promise with no ifs, ands or butterumpusses about it.

If you were a playwright, you’d know this formula:

Act I: we meet the protagonist and his circumstances. All is well until, just at the end, something dreadful shatters his peaceful existence.

Act II: things gets worse and worse, more and more dire, nastier and nastier, until, at the very end of the act, the idea emerges that will save all.

Act III: we act on the idea, vanquish the dreadfulness, and resolve the manifold puzzles presented during the day. If it’s a musical, the audience walks out humming the overture.

In DROPPINGTON PLACE, we don’t have quite that much structure. You’ll find the outline over there, on the left of this site, under the strikingly original title DROPPINGTON PLACE: Outline.

So, there it is, you and I are sealed at the word processor. I share this with you in the hopes of giving you a window into my creative process.

I trust, of course, that we won’t see you running down the street with my outline in hand bellowing “Eureka! I know what to write!” That would bring bad juju, wouldn’t it?

Your ideas are always welcome – simply comment on this blog.

Stay tuned, dear reader. There are chapters, both of this book and MARIGOLD’S END, to follow.


Remember: no running.

Bare Naked Marketing


Please disregard the provocative headline… nobody here is taking off their clothes. Probably.

So, whatever does one mean by bare naked marketing? Unlike guerilla marketing, which takes advantage of life’s nooks and crannies to broadcast one’s message, and unlike gorilla marketing, which is naked by default… seriously, how many gorillas look good in yoga pants… bare naked marketing is a new concept, proposed by yours truly.

BNM… the rule for technical writers goes like this: bare naked marketing (BNM), but that’s tedious… is organic marketing. As nobody reads this blog, I’ve decided to expose myself – all right, just my artistic soul – on my current project, DROPPINGTON PLACE.

We’ve already discussed designing the story, and I may have posted a chapter.  We have therefore already explored part of my new marketing ploy… I mean, plan.

BNM: starting tomorrow, you will get to see the writing process that goes into this book. The outline will be posted here, along with changes as they occur. Chapters, as they are finished, will be here, too.

Why BNM? You’re a writer, right? Well, so am I.  Does it not make sense to share our thoughts and processes? I mean, it’s not like some great big secret? Should it be? I think not!

So, starting tomorrow, visit here for the much ballyhooed Bare Naked MARKETING. Clothing on your part is entirely optional.

Cliffhanger Marketing

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

 When we left our heroes, Norman, Jake, and Wanda dangled over the boiling lava pit, suspended in the air by a single strand of dental floss.

 “I believe it’s beginning to stretch…” Jake gasped.

The cliffhanger, the white-knuckler squeaker of a nasty dilemma that makes you just want to, makes you just have to, makes you just DIE to start the next chapter and see what happens, is an old, old way to sell stories.

Scheherazade used them to keep herself alive in the One Thousand and One Nights, remember? The king was going to lop off her head when she reached the end of her story, so she spun out cliffhangers, night after night, until he finally said “dude, like, cut it out!” That may be a loose translation.

The upside of cliffhangers is that you bring the audience back for the next chapter. It’s rather a component of gorilla marketing, wherein you don’t do anything, and let the story do all the work.

The downside is that your story becomes lurchy, if that’s a word, and rather roller coastery, if that’s a word. Your sensitive love story about a girl and her pet dragon must necessarily take a turn for the violent, or for extreme emotions: I HATE you, Nogard bellowed. The end.

Another downside is that cliffhangers become rather tedious. For goodness sake, can’t he AVOID the traps once in a while? The old Batman TV show had just 22 minutes to get out of a cliffhanger, tell some story, and get into a new one, making the Caped Crusader seem, I don’t know, rather cartoonish?

So, it is with a blend of cliffhangery, if that’s a word, and gorilla marketing, that you now find Chapter Two of MARIGOLD’S END here on this very site.

Taa Daa!

As you’ll recall from Chapter One, our troubled twelve-year-old, Phineas Caswell, points the loaded pistol,  trigger-finger itchery (if that’s a word), squarely at the running-away back of Alfred Townsend, the unarmed bully that has made his life a living hell. Will he pull the trigger and end his woes? Will He? WILL HE???

Well, now you can find out. The second chapter, cleverly titled Chapter Two, now has it’s own page. Oh, and you’ll be surprised at the turn of events.         I hope.

Now you can read the chapters, build up steam, get rolling in MARIGOLD’S END, and wait breathlessly for Chapter Three. Oops – I gave away the title!

Before you get all wormy-squirmy and palm-sweaty like you do in the seat across the car dealer sales manager (How am I going to get you into that car today, friend?), I must remind   you: this is gorilla marketing. Don’t buy the book – you can’t!

But, let me know what you think, would you? Liked it? Hated it? Mondo disregardo? Your feedback, my independent writer friend, is most needed.

Now, I’m not desperate – I know that’s what you’re thinking.  But, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not. My darling editor is moooviiiing soooo slooooowly, think of this as Plan B.

Your input, spread out over the number of weeks over which I plan to release a chapter…let’s see, here, 18 chapters, take away the 2 I’ve already released…let’s see, carry the 1…should coincide with her completion of her editorial chore.

Badda boom, badda bing, and all I have to do is NOTHING! Now THAT, my reader friend, is gorilla marketing!


Designing a Book 



At first you think, whoa, I am, like, so going to write this book that it’s just going to be the best darned thing anybody has every gosh darned read. Then you sit down at the word processor…

It was a dark and stormy night…backspace, backspace, backspace

You may wonder why I’m dead… backspace, backspace, backspace

You’re not the boss of me, Timmy snarled… backspace, backspace, double backspace, control-X

All right, so, that knock at the front door is clearly not your muse, come to enlighten you…

My book, DROPPINGTON PLACE, has gone through iteration after iteration, the story orbiting around plot point after plot point, through about 17 “hot-dang, this’ll be good” rewrites, and finally sat down and breathed out.

That’s when Byron, the protagonist, stepped in. It turns out he really did have a story to tell – something serious he wanted to say. His story is actually pretty good – a little calm compared to previous editions of his book, but pretty good.

In the original story, Byron finds himself transported to a world of paper, run by a magical being called a homunculus. However will he get back? Assisted by two human friends and a couple of paper people, he eventually gets the homunculus to send him home. Yawnzers, kids. It’s a cool idea, but, like the paper world he visits, seriously flat.

Byron recently announced that he was not happy in the 3D world. His father has left. His mother has “episodes” that pull her emotionally far away, and he misses his best friend, left behind when they moved to a new town. He finds his escape from his woes by building paper houses.

The paper world into which he is thrust holds much more mystery for him, and might even be a place in which he can find respite. We spend most of the story wondering, with him, if the place is real or a dream. The homunculus is a paper copy of a 15th century playwright, and stands in as sort of a father figure for Byron.

We still have all the interesting paper stuff going on, and there’s a bad guy, but that’s no longer what drives the story.

The motor behind the story is Byron’s emotional arc, as he learns to cope with the many difficult issues he must face.

Fine, fine, well and good. Jeepers, mister, you’re a GENIUS, but having a character arc don’t do crackers for the structure of the book.

To remedy that ill, I broke the cracking-good synopsis for DROPPINGTON PLACE into chapters, to wit:


Chapter 2

At first the fascinating paper world is appealing, as it provides an escape from the woes of the real world. But, after seeing a 3D human like himself turned into a 2D paper person, he realizes he is in danger.


Chapter 3


Searching for a way out, he meets Hailey, a strikingly bright and hopeful 12 year old, who hopes to assist the tiny man requesting help. She uses her knowledge of magic, gained through reading a series of young-adult novels, to explain and understand the paper world. Together they witness Hobbs turn a 3D human into a 2D “flatso” as Byron calls them. They realize that Hobbs is the way out, and decide to visit his castle, Hobbs Manor…”


Now Byron can say all the stuff that’s important, but the rhythm of the book is a flow that can be managed and developed. Each character can say their important stuff, but this outline tells them when to say it.


There is a danger, my writer friend, of getting too detailed in the outline – I know some writers who fall into this sinister little trap. They write and write, not on the book, but in the outline, and solve all of their puzzles so thoroughly that they now see no need to write the book!


So, sketchy and loose, detailed but easy-peasy, that’s the road for Byron!

Writing at Disneyland

Image: Disneyexperience.com
Image: Disneyexperience.com

There’s something sort of crazy about being, well, sort of crazy. At the top of the list is that you don’t have to explain anything – well, I’m just sort of crazy like that.   You get lots of clever adjectives, like quirky, and different. And, because you’re just sort of crazy like that, you know, quirky and different, you find yourself with lots of free time on your hands. Let’s not invite her – you, know, she’s quirky and different.

This big and mighty world tries really hard to convince you that being busy is doing something. You can be busy all day long at Disneyland, but, what have you accomplished beyond exhausting yourself and dropping two hundred bucks to a guy in a mouse costume? Nothing, Jack. For all that busyness, you accomplished nothing.

So it is with we quirky, different writers, dontcha think? This endeavor right here, this very one you are reading, which hopefully brings a smile to your erstwhile lips and perhaps gives you something over which to mull when you are not busy being busy, may very well be busyness for the sake of busyness.

It occurred to me while thinking about marketing…I mean, promoting…my book, my mind spinning feverishly like a rabid squirrel in a hamster wheel, that there is nothing to do about marketing…I mean, promoting…my book until my adorable editor is done with it. For the record, she did say she thought this was the best so far, but had scarcely started chapter two. Sigh.

Without a product, what is there to promote?…coming soon from John Reinhart, the author who is, well, uh, is kinda waiting in limbo while his editor wraps up his glorious…wait, where ya going?

BUT, there is a sequel to MARIGOLD’S END, tentatively titled PELICAN’S WAY… there’s sort of a theme here, see, where the Marigold is a ship in the first novel that gets blown up…oh, poop, I spoiled the ending…double poop, because NOW I spoiled the ending by telling you that Phineas blows it up at the end of the book…oh, triple poop! So, see, Pelican is a ship in the next book that gets…well, you’ll have to read that one.

Anyway, the rabid squirrel brains rattled out a good synopsis of that book on Tuesday. And I must say, it’s a ripping good synopsis, as synopses go. That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the quirky, different sort of crazy writer that I am, I sort of cracked out a terrific synopsis for my other series of books, called DROPPINGTON PLACE. For a preview of Droppington, scroll to the bottom of this page and you’ll see that I have a blog for that, too. Oh,  I’ve thought of everything.

So, while my lovely editor does everything other than edit my book, my NEW plan is to work on DROPPINGTON PLACE. And thus my hands will be busy.

But, is busyness productivity? If the words crackle and dance from your fingertips, but never get published, is that accomplishing anything?

Maybe that’s why my crazy, quirky, different friends are so fond of Disneyland.

Marketing is a Misnomer


Earth to dummy, come in, dummy. Earth to dummy, come in, dummy…

Marketing your book…and, you’re not the dummy, by the way, it’s me…anyway, marketing your book isn’t marketing it at all. Marketing is just a term, a word, meant to scare the living pants off of the weak and timid squirrelly-minded folks not blessed with an iron resolve. I used to have an iron doorstop, but it rusted and ruined my carpet. Just like the word marketing can ruin your efforts to sell your book.

You are not a marketer. You, my friend, are a writer. And, even though there are some pretty good marketing writers, and you might be one, you are a novelist first and foremost, and through and through.

But, gee, Mr. Wizard, if I don’t market my book, however am I to sell enough copies to retire in Provence and grow grapes. Well, Skippy, I’m glad you asked.

We are not marketers, you and I. We are publicists. Publicist. Has a much more noble ring, don’t it?  We are not marketing our work, pandering to the common masses as if we were hawking corn flakes. Marketing is a highly specialized field, filled with buzzwords and jargon and MBAs. Not newbie nimrods like you and me. Well, me.

All seriousness aside, isn’t your goal to sell your book to people who want to read it? You didn’t do all that work just to sell a dust jacket, did you? To be on the close-out aisle at Barnes and Noble?

No, no, no.  That’s the province of the marketer.

You, you write your WordPress blog, you have your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. You are spreading the word through your social media, which is good.

But, you are preaching to one hundredth of one percent of your future readers. If I sold a book to every reader of this blog the total would come to three…four if I buy one, but, really, I’ve already read it.

Your book is not its own entity. Your book is you…that must become your mantra. I am my book. My book is me.

Although it’s filled with beautiful imagery and breathtaking passages, it all comes to naught if no one knows about it. About you.

So, begone knock-kneed marketing fool, and be welcome, sophisticated publicist…

Okay, so, like, what now?

Well, what does a publicist do? Publicists bring their clients an opportunity to talk, to build interest in the book.  A publicist sails the seas of opportunity, thinking in new and different ways about how to get you noticed. The notice turns into a chance to talk, which turns into public curiosity about your book, which turns into sales, which turns into grape arbors in your front yard. See how easy it is?

So, that is the task for you and me – I include myself because you shouldn’t have to do this on your own: we will become publicists, but not for our books. For ourselves. You and I will get the world interested in us…so interested that they will clamor to buy our novels. And that clamor, my friend, might just bring you your own estate-bottled chardonnay.

The Internet as Closed Door


Marketing and publishing your book in this new, connected age is rather like convincing yourself that you’re a genius – no one will dispute it because no one is really listening. No one really cares.

Now, don’t get all huffy and think ol’ Johnny’s getting crabby and bitter. I’ve always been crabby. And bitter? That’s just the flavor to the stew!

But the answer to your publishing and marketing puzzles cannot be found on the WWW. Go ahead, Google “Answers to my marketing puzzles” and you’ll see what I mean. Not there. Never has been.

No one is going to give you the answer. No one is listening.

It’s because you’re asking too darned big of a question. The answer to marketing your book cannot be found on the I’net because you haven’t asked a valid question. It’s like Googling “how to make food.” It can’t be answered.

So you, my writer friend, have to do the hard work of figuring out how you want to market your writing – are you going to publish it yourself, or shoot for the agent/publisher combo? Are you going to purchase advertising or use social media?

Even as you ask yourself these questions, plans start to form in the mind. Plans, plots, machinations. Maybe you’ll do this, with a twist of that..Ah HAH! They’ll never see it coming!

For me, the hardest part is the waiting. My beautiful editor may have read the first couple of pages, but that’s it. Gosh, I sent the corrected version on Christmas Eve…what gives? Could she possibly have anything better to do?

In the mean time, I’ve been foolishly posing my marketing questions to Google, and have reached the conclusion that folks online mostly want to sell me stuff. Perhaps the WWW stands for the Worldwide Wearing down of the Wallet, although I suppose that would be the WWDW, which sounds like we should be carrying guns and calling each other “bro


The point is that, while the Internet is a fantastic resource, it’s not the answer. If you check out a book on marketing from the library, your product is still not marketed. The book doesn’t care about you, either.

At the end of the day, you and I must do our homework, make our tough marketing decisions, get off our protruding duffs, and do something other than hope the Internet will tell us what to do. I’m talking you, mister, or perhaps just to me. Rats. I hate it when that happens!

Until those decisions are made, I’m sorry, but the Internet is closed.