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09 January 2014 @ 09:30 pm

Originally published at todd-wheeler.com. You can comment here or there.

The new year has arrived. Time to summarize, reflect, regret (a little), and gear up again.
 

First, a few numbers. I sold a grand total of two eBooks and three paperbacks, all of which were for Garbageland. Ironically, my income as author/publisher was only slightly less than in 2012: $23. This was due to various distribution outlets (Apple, Amazon, Google, and Lightning Source) releasing funds they were holding from 2012 sales.
 

On the plus side, it signaled a change in policy by eBook distributors. I think the average minimum for payout used to be $10. Haven't researched this trend or reasons why, but glad to have the money flow to me rather than sit in their coffers.
 

One paperback was through a local independent bookstore that was happy to display my book at the counter. There was also a flash fiction piece that was published through Every Day Fiction. And a good start to a series of short stories during NaNoWriMo. So really, can't complain about 2013, even if it seemed a rather unproductive year.
 

I did have plans. My intention was to release my next book Dragonfly and River Stone at various points last year, but it just didn't work out. Life got in the way here and there as it does, moving twice, starting a new job, and the dreaded holidaze. And that NaNoWriMo November.
 

As always, I'm taking a deep breath, shrugging off the past, and making way for the future. The intentions of last year will bear fruit in 2014. Best wishes to you all as well for making good on the promises of the past.

 
 
 
02 September 2013 @ 10:17 am

Originally published at todd-wheeler.com. You can comment here or there.

The nights are getting cooler. The days shorter. And there are moving trucks on every street around Boston. And so, alas, the 2013 Virtual Summer Reading Program has concluded.
 

Thirteen people participated and read 156 books! I exceeded my goal and finished six titles. In total, I will be donating $73 to the Prison Book Program.
 

A couple very generous folks also pledged support based on the number of books they read this summer. They will be donation $19 to the Prison Book Program and another charity. Well done!
 

And now for the prizes. Winners were chosen at random using the number generator at random.org. The runner up who will receive a signed copy of my book Dragonfly and River Stone is Random Michelle! And the grand prize winner of a $50 Amazon gift certificate is Sherri Lewis!
 

Congrats to them and to all of you for your reading success. Keep reading all year. Keep reading to kids. Keep supporting your libraries and literacy organizations. Hope to see you all next year!
 

 
 
 
12 April 2013 @ 09:48 am

Originally published at todd-wheeler.com. You can comment here or there.

My flash fiction story "The Wolfsbane Incantation" is now live at the website Every Day Fiction:

http://www.everydayfiction.com/the-wolfsbane-incantation-by-todd-wheeler/
 

What made this more valuable was the feedback from the editors. While they accepted the story as submitted, they provided thoughtful suggestions about where the story could be stronger and how a particularly violent element of the story would not appeal to their readers. I knew I would be a fool not to take this free advice. I made several revisions and resubmitted the piece.
 

The Every Day Fiction site also allows readers to post comments and rate the story. In a matter of hours, my story has averaged four stars and has very positive comments. I'm glad I took their advice.

 
 
 
19 March 2013 @ 10:36 pm

Originally published at todd-wheeler.com. You can comment here or there.


"When I let go of what I am, I become what I may be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need"
- attributed to Lao Tzu


 

At the beginning of the year I set lofty goals. One thousand words a day. One blog post a week. One story submission per month. Quite poetic in its symmetry of a quantity of one task over each time span.
 

At the time I believed I could accomplish the goals. It would be hard and require strict discipline and focus and time management and the lack of any other factors that might possibly cause the slightest distraction. These were unrealistic goals.
 


"Know thyself."
- ancient Greek aphorism



 

The problem with committing to something unrealistic is it can be difficult to disengage, particularly if others are involved. If I commit to help a friend move a piano I will surely live up to that promise, no matter how much my back may regret it later.
 

When my commitments are internal, that is when I am the only one affected by the doing or not doing, it is still hard for me to renege. The completion of that task is linked to my image of myself, my self esteem, my character. If I don't complete the task I am a failure.
 

The end result of this cycle is obvious. Frustration. Low self-esteem. Sadness. Depression. Procrastination. Repeat.
 

When the commitment involves others, a promised favor, a work assignment, a relationship, letting go can be very difficult and painful. If the promise is only to myself, no matter how public I have made it, the only person who will be affected is me.
 

Read more...Collapse )

 
 
 
27 February 2013 @ 02:05 pm

Originally published at todd-wheeler.com. You can comment here or there.

There is a word game where the starter word is transformed to the ending word by changing one letter at a time. It is known by many names (Doublets, Word-Links, Word Ladder, etc.) and the creation of it is credited to Lewis Carroll. On the plane during a recent trip I challenged myself and my daughter to transform SNAPE to HARRY.
 

Yes, we had recently watched some Harry Potter videos.
 

What I thought would be moderately challenging became a very difficult puzzle. Spoiler: the answer I arrived at is at the end. As I worked my way through, it seemed this process compared well to that of writing in several respects.
 

1. There are rules to follow.


SNAPE
SNAKE
STAKE
STARE
STORE
STORY
SORRY <-- Two letters changed. Not Allowed!

2. Working backwards can lead to discoveries.


HARRY
HARRS <-- Plural of harr, a sea mist or wind from the east.
HERRS <-- Old Norse word for army. Non-english word, Not Allowed!

3. Mastering the rules allows one to bend or break them.


HARRY
LARRY <-- Well, we are going from one proper name to another, right? Also another spelling of lorry.

Below is the full progression that I arrived at. I would love to see other solutions!

SNAPE
SNAKE
STAKE
STARE
STARS
SPARS
SPURS
SOURS
LOURS
LOURY
LORRY
LARRY
HARRY