Contest and Insecurity

My book was accepted into the contest. That can mean one of two things.

  1. That my book is better than I thought.
  2. The contest will accept anything that has a cover and words underneath. Is my insecurity showing? Yes. There will always be authors out there that are better than me. I’m competing against everyone. I don’t expect to win. But I entered and I was accepted. Which will frost some people that think my writing is terrible. Which may be true, but the people running the contest have not offered to sell me anything yet. They haven’t offered a “place higher in the contest by taking this course” promo. And it didn’t cost me anything to get into the contest.Could the book be better? Yes, but I don’t know how to make it better yet. I’m working on it. I will be working on becoming a better writer for the rest of my life. And you should be too, or I’ll past you.I sent my second book manuscript off to two Beta readers. I only need four more Beta Readers, at least that is what an author I respect said. I will read your manuscripts for Beta Reads of mine, if your willing to Beta Read reply via email at

    This is something I have learned and is a step to make my second book better than the first. If it works out I will send the first book to these Beta Readers. Hey, I hadn’t heard of Beta Readers when I wrote my first book. Of course after I fix up the first book I will have to send it off to be edited again. That’s expensive. I hope to have better luck the second time I work with an editor.

    Stay Strong, Write On.   Confused, insecure, afraid. Professor Hyram Voltage

Writer, Optimist and Contest

I entered the first book I wrote in a contest. I’ve written three books. It’s the 2017 Readers Choice Awards by TCK Publishing. See the 2017 Readers Choice Awards by TCK Publishing.

I did not write the next Harry Potter. I don’t expect to win this contest. The only chance I have to win something is if I’m chosen in one of the random drawings that will be held for books that were entered. It did not cost anything to enter. Low risk of losing anything. I may get one book sales out of it, and maybe someone will like my book.

I can use all the feed back I can get and I’m not expecting good feedback. Useful feed back does not have to be good feedback. I’m looking for feedback that will make the book the best book I can, so tell me what wrong or what you don’t like, I can change it and I may.

Remember it’s a book not a product. I don’t make products, I write books. A bag of cow manure is a product. My book is way better than any product.

I got an offer from a member of the screen writing group I belong to to Beta read the manuscript of book two. I am in panic mode reworking the manuscript to get it ready for someone to read it. It’s got some good scenes in it.

I’m always looking for more Beta Readers. I’m not looking for a proof reading or a spell check. I will hire an editor for that. Leave a comment if you would like to give a try at Beta Reading a manuscript. With luck you can be promoted to Alpha reader.

Stray Strong, Write On.                Professor Hyram Voltage

Book three, first clean draft, done

Sunday I turned the last two chapters of book three to the critique group. A long road finished.

Now I have to start the edit cycle. This can take three times as long as writing the first good draft.

The current problem I’m having is finding Beta Readers. A couple of authors have told me to go to Good Reads for Beta Readers. I’m missing the details of how to do it. I’ve looked on the site for someone that is seeking Beta Readers and I would build my effort off what they have done, and I would Beta Read for them. I don’t want to get kicked off Good Reads for breaking the rules. I also want to look like I know what I’m doing.

Authors on YouTube make getting Beta Readers sound so easy.

Stay Strong, Write On                    Professor Hyram Voltage


The Race to Totality, 0 Dark Thirty

It’s 3:30 A.M. August 21, 2017 and I’m loading stuff into the car at the Hotel in Walla Walla, Washington. Others were leaving or loading their stuff along side us. The hotel made a bag lunch/breakfast for us early checkouts.

Since we surveyed the route the day before getting out of town was painless. Next stop was Pendleton, WA on the boarder of Oregon. There is no direct connection between 11 the road we were on from Walla Walla and 395 the road we wanted. The  11 ends at Pendleton and the 395 starts there. Took a short hop on freeway 84 and made it to 395. The freeway was not jammed or packed with last minute travelers headed for the eclipse like was worried about.

I’m on the look out for deer, but a short distance down the road a five ton box truck is pulled off to the right side of the road. The truck pulls across the road in front of me blocking both lanes. I lean on the brakes and make it around the truck on the gravel along the road side. I am now more awake than I wanted to be.

Traffic gets thicker and we become part of a long line of cars on a two lane road. There were mountains ahead and I don’t drive mountain roads often. It’s flat where I live. Driving twisting narrow roads in the dark (eclipse equals new moon or no moon at night) is not fun.

Thankfully those in line with me were taking the turn at a decent speed. There was some small rocks on the road but not enough to make driving bad.

Day break on the mountain side. The drive is good. It’s clean clear weather and no smoke. Things are looking up.

We start passing people pulled off or camping along side the road waiting for the eclipse.

We get to Long Creek and the place we are going to is well marked.

So we parked in a freshly mowed field. The grain or whatever is still a couple of inches high and made a crunching sound as you walked on it.

The first thing I did was run to the bathroom. I had a soda on the way for the caffeine. Unfortunately the bathroom was plugged up. As I was coming back the people that were running the place were unloading Porta-potties. An instant line formed.

Unloaded the equipment. We had packed the car with telescopes and camping equipment before leaving for the trip. If we had to, we could have camped instead of getting hotel rooms. We had enough stuff for four people.

Right after we got to the parking place the traffic on 395 died down. Seems like everyone had the same time table as I had.

As I unpacked I found that I was missing one piece for the telescope. Luckily my friend had a spare and I was in business.

With the sun filter on the scope I got a look at the sun. There were sunspots. I had something to focus on.

We ended up parked between a welder from Washington state and some people that worked for Microsoft on the other side. Nice people. The Welder had a sextant from his father. Classy looking instrument.

Got the cameras set up. Took pictures, then in the middle of totality I stopped and looked at the totality with my eyes.

Totality lasted less than two minutes, but it was worth it.

Stay Strong, Write On       Professor Hyram Voltage

One Chapter to go

Sunday I turned in chapter 18 of book three to the critique group. Three ships battle it out with torpedoes, cannons, and small arms fire. While the heroine is trapped on a barge in the middle of the fighting with the enemy spy.

I kept three fights going at once while the heroine tries to save her lovers who is hanging below the barge in a bathysphere. It’s not easy keeping three story lines (that are happening at the same time) going and not confuse the reader.

Now all I have to do is write the Falling Action, The Resolution, and The Denouement and wrap up a bunch of lose ends. On paper that sounds like more work and writing than what I did for the second act of the book.

Of course as I wrote chapter 18 my outline went to pieces. I have to redo the outline of chapter 19, big time.

Word count is good, but way low. I have to go through several edits and a rewrite which will add words. Then it’s off to the Beta Readers. After the clean up using the Beta Readers comments I turn it in to the editor.

That brings up a big problem. I’m still working on the editing of the second book. Writing new stuff is more fun than editing. How many time do I have to read the same thing again? Is the edit making it better?

The big problem is I will now go for weeks without new material to submit to the critique group. I could give them edited material but they will get as tired of reading the same (but improved) stuff over and over.

The biggest problem is editing and rewriting take three times as long as writing the book in the first place.

Stay Strong, Write On (you heard it here first)   Professor Hyram Voltage.