Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chalk another novel up, but this one about killed me

I finished my second novel tonight, though the term second is misleading. In many ways, this is my first novel — or my first legitimate one not counting those I began as a kid.

I started this novel back in either 2000 or 2001, just shortly after a novel I co-authored with a friend of mine was turned down in New York. That novel was something that my buddy and I foolishly thought shouldn’t be changed when a New York agent called asking us for changes.

Yeah, we were that young and stupid. Cocky, really. But we were convinced we’d soon be finished and how dare someone ask us to change a couple chapters and plot points.

Yet after we had no other takers on the co-authored novel, we were stuck. And feeling pretty stupid and suddenly exhausted.

I eventually picked myself up and started on yet another one, and that one is the novel I’m referring to in this post.

For more than ten years I’ve worked on this novel and I poured a ton of my soul into it. It’s a complex thriller that involves a former Marine Sniper and an arm of the CIA, who eventually goes after him for something they think he’s done.

I’m not going to say more about the plot for now, but I did want to say that this book took all I had in me to finish it. Between launching a business, surviving a divorce, and only barely avoiding bankruptcy, it’s been hard to fight with this novel. Plus, it’s complex.

One of the number one rules in writing is, “Finish what you start.” And as part of that, you’re never supposed to lay something to the side or delay in finishing it.

Doing so makes the task of completing it monumentally more difficult. You lose your enthusiasm. Doubts creep in.

Both of those things happened with this one, and I want to publicly say that my wife Danah deserves an immense amount of credit for encouraging me to finish it. Even the past couple months, just pages from the finish line and with thoughts of giving it up, she helped push me to the end.

I’ll never have another novel that proves this difficult. I’m certain of that. I’ve grown as a writer and learned a ton of tricks and principles that must be followed. This one was birthed the hard way, and it was quite a fight that I nearly lost.

But I’m certain it’s a great book and I can’t wait to get the cover done and complete some final editing.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

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Filed under Random posts, Writing tips

Thanks, Pakistan. You guys are swell.

So our good friends in Pakistan continue to cost us a ton of money.

The latest is an additional $2.1 billion.

“Pakistan’s refusal to let NATO access its ports and roads into Afghanistan has cost the U.S. Defense Department more than $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs to move supplies and equipment in and out of the country.” (Article link.)

For those who forgot, Pakistan closed the ground route last November after a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed 24 of its soldiers

Just as bad — maybe worse — this recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle said that now more Pakistanis see U.S. as its enemy, despite our enormous amount of aid.

“In the last couple of years, Washington has earmarked a bigger chunk of its aid to Pakistan for civilian projects, hoping to engender goodwill with the country’s intensely anti-American populace. The latest polling suggests that the strategy hasn’t worked.

“About 75 percent of Pakistanis surveyed regard the United States as an enemy, according to a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. That’s actually up more than 10 percent since three years ago, when 64 percent said they viewed America as an enemy.” (Article)

Two final points.

First, we’ll be giving nearly $3 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan for fiscal year 2012.  Second, we’ve given more than $20 billion in military and non-military aid since 2001.  (Link.)

Good thing we don’t have any bridges to repair or any ongoing deficits to cut or — umm, this is a stretch — any debt to pay down.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

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Filed under Random posts

So, you’re looking for a shortcut?

Here’s the truth about them…

Really short article here.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

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Filed under Motivation

If George Orwell’s story doesn’t inspire you, then none will…

All right, fans, haters, and those who’ve accidentally stumbled upon this turf…

It’s Monday and it’s time to get off your fat duffs and go do something. And don’t even think about turning on your TV tonight.

You’ve got a dream in the back of that soft, fast-food-fed mind and it’s time you get up and get after it.

You realize you’re going to be in a nursing home in thirty years, right? What are you waiting for?

So today I read the story of George Orwell.

Wow. Did not know it. At all.

Did you know he only lived to be 46?

Did you know he wrote the famous novel 1984 in an unheated house during one of the coldest winters on record, living on oatcakes and porridge?

Oh, and he had Tuberculosis and was so sick he was confined to his bed. And still, the man wrote 1984 from his freakin’ bed.

What’s your excuse again?

You’re pathetic, you know that?

People for thousands of years have had no light to read at night. Have been stuck on farms doing field work or in factories working absurd hours in dirty, dangerous conditions.

And you women? You don’t get a pass either. Women have for centuries fought for more rights and now you have all these rights, aren’t forced into marriages, and you’re doing what? Watching reality TV? Worrying about a recession that has less than 10 percent unemployment?

Come on, guys and gals. Life can be so much more. Life can be so fun. A challenge. Precious.

Read the story of George Orwell (second story on the page) and thank God your soft, spoiled body — and your even weaker, pathetic mind — was born a mere one hundred years later than his.

And, you know, you could thank God by actually not taking this day for granted. By actually living your life to its fullest and maybe smiling and helping someone along the way.

Or, you could not. And see how fast that nursing home arrives, and remember then how you wished, would give anything, for just the chance to try for that dream you thought you’d never achieve.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

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Filed under Motivation

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day.

Here’s a great article worth reading, and remembering.

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

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Filed under Motivation