Modern Guide to Change

Morty as talent agent


            Transformation, change, what is old, what is new, where we’ve come from and where we are going…sometimes we feel we are just standing still. I am married to an engineer, and she is married to an artist. I entertain and I am a novelist. We discuss what all this new technology means. Some discussions are about the technology and some of our discussions are about the content. Both discussions are about the nature of change. What do I mean by that? I mean that much of what we are now experiencing is already no longer relevant, no longer matters. One structure we thought existed is supplanted, replaced, or made obsolete by the emerging structure. I attended the San Francisco Writers Conference the last three days. The old order has watched while the new digital structure continues to unfold.

            For a street performer it means less than it does to an author of novels. Distribution of a street act remains the same. Stand on corner. Gather an audience, do a show, pass the hat, and another turn of the wheel of life has been made. For an author the mechanics of distribution have been changing and remain in a state of rapid, revolutionary change. Writing evolves at the level of human time frames. Technology moves at another speed. The slow and careful composition of a novel has something in common with a street performer. This digital revolution, this new technology is frantic, fast-paced, breathtaking, and has created not just amazing uncertainty, but amazing opportunity. The challenges are many… as always the most important part is to finds way to use it and not let it use you… I want to think at my own rate of thought, I want to create at my own pace, and enjoy technologies convenience not its tyranny.

Davos 2011 Bankers Go Directly to Jail



      We begin with a Davos wrap up… First, you need to follow the money. Our financial system collapses in 2008. This was the Lehman bankruptcy and the credit crunch that followed, liquidity crisis if you prefer. Large and small corporations outside the financial sector were forced into lay off’s, something in the order of 15 million people in the USA…many still without any prospects for work. There were many possible solutions to this crisis, tools we could have elected to use other than the tools that were selected. Most of the policy actions that were taken were financial in nature, having more to do with trying to repair the financial system. Any economist could explain how the repair of the system could have been a bottom up repair rather than a top down fix. Next, we use extremely low interest rates and loan bankers money that they can buy Treasury Bonds with. Borrow money at one quarter of one percent and buy bonds that pay you one percent perhaps two percent, pocket the difference and like magic their balance sheets begin to look better. The money used to repair the system sits at the Federal Reserve in the form of debt and at the Treasury also in the form of debt to be paid back by the taxpayers. That would include corporate taxes as well as individuals.

 A few years pass the 6 largest banks are getting back on their feet while sticking us with their debts and complaining to us about our not feeling so good about how high their compensation packages are. They say this isn’t fair, that they have done us all a favor and are ready to help the economy again. Then, it turns out that these large Bond buying banks are going to start demanding higher interest payments to buy the bonds used to finance the debt that they created…

Unemployment benefits, social security, Medicare, and other forms of government services need to be cut back, yes it is true that we had a debt problem before the crisis, but they have added at least 3 trillion to 5 trillion dollars all by themselves…

So, it is morally despicable that they are now going to demand that we cut our social security system, curtail our Medicare system, begin to cut unemployment benefits off all so that we the very people they screwed in the first place can pay down the debt that was caused by them!

One last point…some will point to individuals who exploited the system to enrich themselves while this game was going on. But, you see it is sort of like an airplane pilot. You put people in charge of something and they should be expected to fly the thing without becoming greedy and enriching their own accounts or behaving so recklessly that they crash and kill everyone on the plane. Our bankers, regulators and politicians acted in collusion with one another. Bankers captured both politicians and regulators.

The financial system remains broken, dangerous and the world has an enormous debt hangover…. I believe the titans of finance have every reason to continue to remain in a kneeling position and to ask us for forgiveness, reform the banking system…

What does this have to do with Bankrupt Heart? Hope you will read the book.

In Prescott, Arizona tonight, December 1, 2010. Above a late afternoon in late September along the western front of Ruby Mountains. This is the location of the last chapters of Highway Home. Here is a location that evokes a reaction, it stirs up deeper currents in us. Beautiful sunset on this first few days of autumn. Exactly as I’d imagined while writing the concluding scenes of Highway Home.

Okay, Quick Note

Well, headed north tonight, in the midst of the first 10,000 words of Bankrupt Heart, my second novel, got Lacey curled up at my feet, and beginning to enter the writing all day mode…a few days of distraction ahead and then plunge full time into the task at hand.

Storyboard on Wall…

Bankrupt Heart Storyboard


     The plotting is done. Off to editors for comment. Chapter One drafted but will revise, refine, until we get the elements of the story and characters alive on the page. And then I’ll proceed to write the next 28 chapters arriving at what I estimate to be a novel of 100,000 to 110,000 words. This trains leaving the station and expect this drafting to be completed by October. Tinkering after that into some bracket of time, another three to four months. Finished by the end of year would be superb, but I am afraid I am not likely to be capable of going quite that quick. We shall see.

     I’ll begin plotting for the next book somewhere in the middle of finishing my second novel. At least the bones of ideas for the third.

     I’m very excited… I can feel this story’s life within me now…

Hot Off the Press…

playin' with fire


       Well, here I am, knocking at the door, and so I thought you might enjoy seeing what a return note on a submission reads like, at least reads like if you submitted Highway Home. It is a little obtuse, a little code like, I’ll explain…


Thanks so much for sharing HIGHWAY HOME with me. I’m afraid I think it still needs work. The opening is much too long and slow.And only Cicero can get away with page long paragraphs. The story begins with paragraph two of the synopsis. Start in media res, hook the reader, and anything that needs to be known as background can be filled in later.
You definitely have talent, Dana, so I’d be glad to see either a spiffy revision OR BANKRUPT HEART. Don’t give up!
Name and Agency Withheld by Author (That’s me…)
    I’m not sure what “media res” means, and I do appreciate knowing in the pecking order Cicero remains stationed somewhere above me, another dissappointing news bulletin for my ego, dang.
    I’ll give you a puzzle and question. If you were about to begin writing a second novel while submitting the first, and after having revised and edited the first novel for the last six months, after having spent some 62 weeks composing and rewriting prior to editing, what would you do? I’m inclined to believe it is baked and served.
    I remember a long time ago when I set out with this plot and began to write that I had decided to write for very different reasons that this agent might have for acquiring a book. This decision to be mindful of what the market wants is only now kind of dawning on me.
    Here is a reality. I’m plotting much more intensely in the second novel. Lesson from the first novel. I am structuring the center of the second novel to bite my central characters ass much more intensely in the second novel. Lesson learned from the first novel. I am working in my novel plot structure with much more suspense and surprise points in the storyline.
     And so to a much great extent the second novel will come out of the box with a deeper blueprint, a more woven design, a greater attention to the mechanics.
     I’m hopeful I’ll have the creative juice to play within this tightness, this restrictiveness, this equation I am creating.
     Anyway, another few readers have now finished Highway Home and one in particular expressed a special pleasure with the read.
     One of these days…………….

Summit in Desert

Sonoran Desert Nearing Dusk


    On a hike at the saddle of a ridge this is what comes into view. I’ve been climbing this trail and rewarding myself with this sight now since my daughter Alana was first born. Canyon wrens claim their rock outcroppings as we pass. Ravens soar above on the updrafts near the peaks. Small sparrows vanish into the brush. Coyote scat steams on the trail. And the beauty of life is that your work keeps moving along even while away. I’m am proud to announce the official arrival of my first rejection letter from a literary agency!

     I got this gem while away on tour. It was a fabulous jaunt into the southwest. In my corner came two more readers who’ve not just read my novel but recommend it! I calculate that with this first notice I am now one more agency closer to an acceptance letter.

     I think we can all now relax and enjoy the fact that nothing comes easily, that we all work for everything we get, every peak we climb, every book we write, every opportunity we take to ask the world to allow us in, so we might add to the dance, one more fragment to the totality of what it means to be alive…

    Now, I’ll get back to submitting to more agencies, and enjoy the journey of asking the world for what I want.

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Good work comes one show at a time. Working with a good busking friend, Glenn Singer and together we are trying to dial in the new material I’ve got to compliment my book. I’ve got this wild idea that my book and my show can speak to each other, that one experience informs the other. Wish me luck because this isn’t certain as in much of life it is totally up for grabs.

Some day this idea just might float....

We are in the mail… that is one submission

october09c 002
The Little Boat that Could...


     Finally the first manuscript has been placed in the mail…this is a customized submission and included: specific header/page number spec’s, lines per page, font, font size…for the manuscript. It included synopsis, title page, letter of introduction, no paper clips, SASE back to me, and mailed flat not folded!!!!!

     Hoops……..lots of hoops…..

     On another note I have had my plotting of my second novel returned and it was shot full of big holes, especially in the second act, so to speak, there were not enough barriers or tests to present enough obstacles or power of ideas to be overcome to justify the transformation of the character from a mess into wanting not to be a mess, to overcoming his mess…… I’ll go back and hack away at the middle which will alter both the start and finish. Got to get a blueprint worth writing… this isn’t the painting this is the idea of the composition.

     Oh, plotting is a different function than writing prose…you can hear the mind whirling different gears