Writing & SelfPublishing

A Bold Confession

I have a confession to make. No better way to make it than to just come out with it. *sigh* Here it goes. –I’m a woman– There, I said it. And I’ll say it again. I’m a woman. A pretty damn good-lookin’ one, too. My name is Jenny Cogburn. Well, really, it’s Tony Huston, but in my new novel, I’m Jenny Cogburn. The year is 2047, and I live near Boston with my husband, Kip. We have everything: a strong marriage, a beautiful home in the burbs, a baby on the way—I’m living the white picket fantasy that every young lady dreams of. And now I’m gonna get murdered. It’s all Kip’s fault. God knows I love him, but sometimes the man is so childish, you’d think his brain is made of Legos. See, he’s a sucker for new technology. Show him the latest HoloPhone or HoverTruck and he’ll show you his credit card with no questions asked. And now, he’s just brought home a robot—an ugly, creepy “android” that looks like the ghoulish love-child of Howdy Doody and the clown from IT. It lumbers around my house, leering at me with soulless blue eyes and a stack of gleaming, fake teeth. I swear it wants to kill me. “Oh, honey, don’t be silly,” says Kip with that irritating boyish charm. “The Brobot 3000 is harmless–he’s programmed to never hurt humans. In fact, he’ll be our servant! He’ll wash the dishes, he’ll do the laundry, he’ll mow the yard—he’s a godsend, honey!” That’s how Kip gets me. That’s how I cave and allow this THING into my home. An unpaid servant who’ll take on all my household chores so I can have more time to write my masterpiece. I’m an amateur writer, you see, and I’m trying to land a publishing contract. Seduced by the possibilities, I give this maid-bot free reign. I mean, how can a girl refuse a free maid, right? But I’ve made a mistake. It watches me. It smiles at me. Those rubbery lips. That voiceless grin. That fake, ruddy hair like you’d see on a 1930’s porcelain doll. Maybe I’m being silly. Maybe I’ve read too many horror novels. But I swear to God this thing is more intelligent than it lets on. Something bad is gonna happen. This “harmless” robot is plotting something, I know it. And most disturbing, it seems much too...

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Drown Writer’s Block In Hot Sweat!

It’s like magic. Heart-pumping, glistening-skinned sorcery. There I am, rockin some sweet, sweet cardio on the treadmill/stairmaster/spin cycle, innocently reading a fine novel on my trusty Kindle, when . . . THROOOOSH! A juicy new story idea jet-streams into my conscience as if fired from the fingers of heavenly Word Wizards. Or stubborn issues with my current work in progress mold into awesomeness and fall into place like Tetris blocks. My eyes drift away from my Kindle display into the soup of training capris and tank tops and tattoos and clanging weights. But I don’t see any of that. My focus is inward, marveling at the parade of settings and characters and plotlines that lay themselves out—effortlessly—inside my mind. I don’t feel like I’m coming up with the ideas. I am a tool—simply the vehicle that receives them. And it is my privilege—my duty—to write them down immediately or risk losing them forever. So I close the Kindle and I spend the next thirty minutes finger-whipping notes into my Smartphone’s notepad app. The phenomenon is real. It happens nearly every time I engage in long, sustained, exercise. It doesn’t have to be in the gym, either. Sometimes it happens while I’m running on the track. Sometimes it happens while I’m cycling on my favorite bike path. Hell, I’ve conjured up so many stories during exercise that the resulting backlog actually frustrates me. I’ll never be able to write them all—not anytime soon, at least. And even though I’m used to this spontaneous divine influx now, it still astounds me when I reflect on it. What is responsible for this? Why do I have SO. MUCH. WIN. when I’m working out, and a healthy dose of writer’s block when I’m not? I decided to investiGoogle. And guess what? My findings support my experiences. As it turns out, there is a blooming cache of scientific evidence that we (human desk monkeys) think, learn, and create better when we’re bustin some hump. There are some obvious reasons for this. For one, blood pressure and blood flow increase throughout the entire body as we exercise. That includes your squiggly pink skull-meat (or brain, if you’re not into making things sound nasty). With greater blood flow comes more energy and oxygen. More energy and oxygen translates to greater performance. And last I checked, greater performance is a highly desirable thing. Let’s go a step...

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