Sunday, January 22, 2012


It just so happens I rely on a laptop rather than a PC. My wife and I each own a laptop. Someday I'd love to obtain a PC and take advantage of higher speed and storage.

Yesterday, my computer decided it no longer wanted to take a charge. Which is annoying, because I rely on my laptop for updating Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, not to mention editing, updating, and formatting manuscripts.

What's especially annoying is that the state of being financially strapped means I'm going to have to wait til my new job kicks in to repair/buy new parts. And so my current works-in-progress are doomed to a state of limbo until I get my laptop up and running again.

Fortunately, I can continue updating my blog and a few other things with my phone. Thanks to the nifty Springpad app, I can even get some writing done. But Goodreads, book formatting, and other tasks will have to wait.

D'oh. Just when I was getting rolling, too.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Hard Part

If only I were two people.

One of me would do all the plotting, writing, editing, rewriting, coming up with new ideas, putting it all in a readable story format.

The other would do all the marketing.

Because goshdarnit, that marketing thing can be a royal pain in the glutes.

It's not that it's so much more work, really. It's just a lot less fun. When I'm writing I can get lost in the story and the flow of the plot and my growing sympathy with the characters. When I'm marketing I have to keep kicking myself, goading myself, telling myself this is NECESSARY AND MUST BE DONE. It's not something with a flow to which I can lose myself. It's a world of hurdles, of new lessons learned, of trial and error and error.

And yes, I said error twice.

That's why dividing the work load between two of me would be nice. The part of me that does all the writing could just work away unimpeded and unflustered by the marketing aspect, letting the other part slave and grumble and puzzle and push.

I saw a Twitter update not long ago that said aspiring writers probably would be better off getting degrees in marketing rather than English or journalism. I suspect that's accurate. It's easier (in my opinion) to teach oneself how to write than to dive headfirst into the marketing world and tread water while hoping the magnum opus you're using as a floatation device doesn't give out.

Thank God for kind folks out there who've been down this road and are willing to show a new guy some of the ropes. If one good thing comes out of my marketing dabblings, I'll have met some great people.

Onward and upward!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Today, my supernatural thriller, Devil's Creek, is available for free download from Amazon. It will only be free until midnight (PST) tonight (January 13, 2012).

Devil's Creek has gotten consistent 5-star ratings on Amazon and Smashwords. called it a "f***in' clever story". If you're curious, and own a Kindle (or a Kindle app), check it out -- what have you got to lose? After all, it's FREE!

You can reach the ebook's Amazon page HERE

Feedback and reviews are always appreciated!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Live Like You Were Dying

Wow . . . it's 2012 already. In only a matter of months, the world as we know it is gonna turn into a cheesy John Cusack movie.

For those who might not catch sarcasm as quickly as others, no, I don't believe that the world is going to dramatically end on December 21st. However, the concept can be utilized to give a person to thought.

As an example: As a writer, what would I do with my writing if I knew for a fact that the world was on the verge of termination? Would I write something more meaningful, more philosophical, something that might help people enrich their lives before the end came crashing in? Or would I just give up, saying, "What's the point if we're all doomed to perish in a global cataclysm?"

Honestly, I don't know for certain, but it's something I've pondered on and off.

On a more personal note, what if I knew I was going to die soon (not the whole world -- just me)? In that case I know exactly what I'd do. I'd compose letters to my kids, for them to read when they got older. I'd write about things I've learned about life and the world in general, trying to pass on what I know. I wouldn't be there for them as they grew up, so I'd do the next best thing -- leave notes and letters.

If I were making a significant living writing fiction, I'd hurry to finish composing my current pieces in progress, publish them, and market like crazy. I'd probably show my wife how to market them as well. That way I would be leaving a modest income to help them get through.

But then I think about this: We never know when our time is going to come. I could slip on ice and crack my skull tomorrow. Or I could go on to beat the record as the oldest person in modern history. I like the philosophy of "live like you were dying". Live each day like it's your last, leave as much value and love and goodness behind as you possibly can.

I think writers are better equipped for this task than most. Let's use it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friends & Flash Fiction

I've been dabbling in flash fiction as an exercise. To increase the challenge, I decided to begin each attempt with a sentence provided by someone else.

I tackled using writing prompts found online, but for some reason they didn't jog me enough. When you're provided a list of a hundred first sentences or prompts and can pick and choose which one to utilize, it's easy to just glance at a prompt, say, "Nope! Can't think of anything for it." and move on to the next. Plus, the fact that some random person posted a random prompt for anyone to use makes it so . . . impersonal. I felt no desire to meet the challenge.

So I tried something different. I asked friends to each provide the first sentence of a story. When the replies came in, my brain finally chugged into action. These were prompts by people who knew me. They were curious to see what I came up with, thus providing me with accountability. They produced prompts specifically for Paul Maitrejean. All these factors gave me undeniable drive to accomplish the mission.

Sure enough: Despite work, kids, a pregnant wife, and other family drama, I managed to churn out roughly one short story a day. The friends who provided the prompts got a kick out of seeing their sentences turned into full stories. And I had a blast while building literary muscle.

I might end up making this a semi-regular practice.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breaking From The Norm

On a whim, I whipped up a very short short story this morning.

I'm not sure if I'll do anything with it, but it was a fun exercise, and of course I derived satisfaction from getting to the end of the tale and wrapping it up. When one works on longer stories, one gets a little tired of writing, writing, writing, and not seeing the end.

If nothing else, it was a break from the norm and a way to flex my writing muscles a bit. Breaking out of a groove can be quite inspiring.

And this story was a real break from normal writing for me. Crime scene, cops, FBI, and . . . well, another element that I thought I would never employ in my writing but -- tada! -- just did. I won't go into too many details just in case I do decide to make it available in one form or another.

So, fellow writers -- what have YOU written that was a huge break from the norm for you? I'm curious to read your reply!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Writing, Inspiration, and Hobbits

Inspiration is a fickle mistress. Which may be thought by some to be a good thing, considering I'm married and all.

But seriously, the tough part about trying to consistently turn out a specific word-count quota is maintaining the frame of mind necessary to do so. Writers rely on their brains functioning on a certain creative level. Unless we want to become relegated to the "starving artist" class, we can't just sit at our computers waiting for inspiration to return from its vacation and possess us like a Charismatic Holy Spirit experience. Though when inspiration DOES strike, we are inclined to jump up and shout, "Hallelujah!"

But it's rare and fleeting.

In between these erratic bouts of painless creativity, we moan and sweat and sigh and labor. The very thought of typing one word sounds about as attractive as going on a date with with a serial killer. But unless we soldier on, that cursor isn't going to expel any words. The keys need our fingers, the fingers need our brains, our brains need the sheer will of knowing that it MUST write, and cannot rely on a muse to show up whenever we summon it.

For me it raises images of Frodo Baggins dragging himself up Mount Doom. He represents our project, exhausted, dragged down by the weight of all that is expected of it. But when he finally collapses, good ol' Sam Gamgee steps in and bodily hauls him up the steepening slope. Sam represents our will power and the knowledge that our project will never get done by itself. It needs that extra push, even if it is painful and exhausting and often downright irritating.

Huh. I like that imagery.

Excuse me while I head off to my word processor to save Middle Earth.