February of this year is when I finally embraced making writing a major part of my day to day existence.  I had been writing my whole life as a fun hobby and for it’s therapeutic implications but it was time to work, to be better, and to change the world.  I told all of my friends, “I’m getting serious about this thing.”  I accepted I was a baby, a student, a beginner and wore that badge proudly.  I needed to learn from the masters, harness the craft, deal with personal anxiety, figure out what my philosophy toward this new monster would be, and most of all, I needed to always try to be better.  My behavior changed in that I started writing and recording ALL the time.  That was six months ago.  Now I get asked the same question constantly, “How is the writing going?”

The short answer – “Great! Fun! I’m grateful to have reassurance that this is indeed what I am most passionate about.  Things are forever changing.  I’m learning so much, exploring everything freely, and dissolving all limitation.  I’m doing it.”

The long answer –

Things are going fantastic!

At first my intention was to sit in the wings and observe.  I’d watch the blogs of J.C. Hutchins, Scott Sigler, Mur Lafferty and all the other influential authors in the podcast novel space.  All the while I’d work on my masterpiece and blow them all out of the water when it was ready.  After a very short while I figured out this was not going to work.  I was sitting in my hobbit hole scribbling but no one was reading it and I wasn’t learning anything about the craft like I wanted.  So I started searching for low-risk ways of exposure.  This is where the 100 word stories podcast came in and GreatHites.  Weekly contests where people voted for fun on the stories and your story was syndicated in a podcast.  It was simple: if people didn’t like your story they didn’t vote for you, done.  No one screamed at you and no one told you it sucked, it was bliss but also not enough to move forward.

I did that for a while and I started to educate myself more about the writing industry.  I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and every podcast I could find about getting better at this writing thing.

So that is where it started and things evolved way faster than I thought from there.

So, where are we now?

I think an itemized list will be more effective than a long hunk of wordy prose.

  • I write for the 100 word stories podcast every week.  Those are the 100 word stories you see posted here all the time.
  • I got into my first REAL writing group that Justin Lowmaster (SpaceTurtle) got me into.  They are a wonderful group of folks and I love interacting with people who nerd out about this stuff as much as I do.
  • Give Blood and Thanks is officially a podcast now and is in itunes and all that.  It will hit 17,000 words very soon and be in official novella territory.
  • I plunged headfirst into the social media space to rub shoulders and learn from these people I thought I would covet forever.  They are all supportive and great.  I have Twitter and Facebook for now.
  • I have a ton of ideas I’m working on and new ones crop up constantly.  I have enough material right now to be locked in a room for about four years and write a few books.
  • I’m learning the value of 100% transparency.  What I do that a lot of authors (can I say that yet?) don’t is, I post everything!  I post the ugly draft that I read from with all the typos, crumby syntax, constant switching of tenses, and even spelling errors.  If things get pointed out to me I go back and fix it, but I don’t ever dwell too long.  I’m not submitting to magazines, I’m not agent hunting, I’m not submitting to publishers, I’m just learning and sharing with all of you.  I don’t want to be on this journey alone.  I want my friends to know what is going on and the world to watch me grow up.
  • I’m confident that I will be a novelist when the time is right.  Actually, the time will be right in November.  I will be participating in my first official NanoWriMo this year.  I’m extremely excited about it and there is a lot of planning I have yet to do if I am going to reach the 50,000 word finish line in just one month.

I think that covers all the bases for now but things are forever changing in this world so who knows what the next day, week, or month will bring.

Thank you all for your constant supportive words and encouragement.  That stuff really means a lot, truly.

That is how the writing thing is going. 🙂 – Danny

July 30th, 2009

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This is my entry for GreatHites #63.  Lot of good authors over there I’m competing with – extremely pleased with the turn out for this topic.  There is a bit of extra at the end of the recording so if you don’t normally listen you might check it out this one time. 🙂

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[audio:dannymachalcomgh63silverbullets.mp3]

Download PDF of Silver Bullets (Letters) GH63 Entry

July 21st 1897

To my dearest friend and mentor Father Daniel,

I write to you with desperate haste.  I do hope the mail courier is able to procure this letter in a timely fashion for I require your knowledge and insight.  As you know, Bishop Crane bequeathed to me his post in the town of Fairview New Mexico.  The inhabitants here are finding themselves drawn to God and I find myself his living incarnation fighting for their salvation.  Silver fever has polluted the many souls here and they look to me to make it right.  We are also without a reputable physician so we have become reliant on the trite medical knowledge I acquired under Father Casper during my Monastery days.

The daughter of a prosperous business man Frank Winston, was brutally attacked.  The poor dear was taken from her bed while she slept by something awful.  She found herself clutching to life in their stable with a deep gash in her back.  Daniel, it was unlike anything I have seen in all my forty years.  No known animal or blade did that to her.  Towns folk here formed a lynch mob that did little more than prowl the out-land ranches and scare a few sleeping farmers.  These people are untamed and quick to band together, it makes me nervous.

I write to you because I fear something ungodly might be upon us.  Your work with the young Doctor Van Helsing will hopefully be able instruct me and guide me in this dark hour.

May the mighty shepherd keep you and bless you,
Father Thomas
(more…)

July 28th, 2009

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Give-Blood-and-Thanks

Give Blood and Thanks: Chapter 14 and 15 – Download PDF

Chapter 14: Brotherly Love

Arthur closed the door behind him and stepped into the darkness of jack off room.  John was sitting in a cheap folding chair watching Remy on a closed circuit TV monitor.  They were alone.

“You need to keep your cool with this guy,” Arthur locked eyes with his brother.

“For what? He’s street walking scum,” John said.

“Serve and protect.  Not be an asshole and judge.  You don’t know anything about him.  A file full of records only tells you so much about a person.  That’s the problem with our line of work.  We see all the bad shit and let ourselves judge too quickly.  Let people surprise you once and a while.  If Dad would have learned that about me, maybe he could have been a real father.”

“Don’t even go there Art,” John interrupted and quickly changed the subject back to Remy.

“So what do you know about him that I don’t?” John said.

Arthur sighed at his brother.  He knew it wasn’t right to bring up Dad in a bad light around John but sometimes he couldn’t help it.  It was the part of himself that he shared with all little boys who hated their fathers.  The deep parts of yourself can’t be contained all the time.  Sometimes, you’ll slip out a little bit of evidence about how you truly feel.

“I know that deep down Brody is a good man and deserves our respect.  I know that he has seen a lot of really bad shit in his day.  The world doesn’t appear the same to him as it does you and me.”

“How do you mean?” John asked.

“We still have a bit of rose colored tint to our glasses John.  We can still see beauty and have hope for the future, shit like that.  Remy sees life and death, always.  He’s a survivor.  You play god long enough like he has, and you become the walking grim reaper.”

(more…)

July 26th, 2009

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[audio:dannymachalentry170.mp3]

I drove my silver 1932 Roadster down to the Boardwalk.

This car was a real panty dropper, but I preferred to pay for the good stuff.

I blew my wad on the hooker and hotel.

Didn’t matter.

Payday was right around the corner.

I cruised around town to Marvin Gardens to get some blow, the good stuff.

Not the third rate shit they cut with baking soda over on Baltic Ave.

Live fast, die young.

I drove the panty dropper toward my house on Pacific to get high and die.

Didn’t see that damn cop until it was too late.

July 25th, 2009

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[audio:brandoncritflashfiction.mp3]

I pulled another cassette from the old box.  Things were beginning to go in slow motion for me now during these listening sessions.  I imagined the classical ambient musical score at the end of a war film.  The brave solider you fell in love with getting killed in a hail of gunfire.  Red mist exploding from each new bullet hole as the actor convulses from the supposed inertia of it all and you living that split second of life in minutes on film.

Bach’s Cello Suite One in G major suites me just fine.  I hear it, as my hand clutches the plastic  tape of the blind man.  Each quick pull of the cello’s bow resonates within me and I slow my breathing.  I rub my thumb on  the pattern of scratches in the plastic.  None of these tapes have numbers, just a series of scored  hash marks to indicate their order in the sequence.  I put on my headphones and push play.  Bach fades out and the black curtain descends as the blind man once again narrates our life.

(more…)

July 23rd, 2009

Posted In: Short Stories, The Craft of Writing, zEverything

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