What’s Up Wednesday: Finally Healed & A New Set Of Wheels

Hey guys. I know I’ve promised this before, but I think I’m actually back this time. You see, something amazing has happened this week. I’ve experienced the first couple of pain-free days I’ve had in months. Sure, the back will twinge a little if I move wrong or try to pick up something I shouldn’t, but over all, I’m feeling pretty much back to normal.

As usual, the South Dakota Festival Of Books was a blast. First of all, I think Deadwood is one of the prettiest towns in the Black Hills. Not to mention the fact that it’s always fun to get together with fellow book lovers and authors. Not only did I get to see friends like Sandra Brannan, Anne Charles and Adrian Ludens, I got to meet many more new friends and some potential connections for book cover artists. We added a few volumes to our autographed copies shelf. Hopefully I’ll have a book to sell myself the next time it comes around.

I’ve been submitting more short stories for publication, but no bites so far. To be fair, I’m doing things a little backward and starting at the top of the list and working my way down. No sense selling a story for peanuts when one of the big names might want to actually pay for it. Besides, I’m getting a little old for that starting at the bottom stuff. I’m looking forward to the day I can report my first sale to you. I’m confident my writing is up to par, it’s just that competition is so fierce for even the non-paying markets.

I do have to confess that work on the novels isn’t going as smoothly as I had hoped it would. I would give excuses as to why, but they all come down to the same evil word that has plagued artists from the dawn of time. PROCRASTINATION. I can’t help but look at the amount of work involved in even finishing a first draft and think, “I just don’t have it in me tonight/today. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Then I sit around and binge Netflix.

The good news is, I’m almost caught up on Supernatural. Of course, the new season starts this month.

The bad news is July and Thrillerfest/Pitchfest will be here before I know it. I don’t want to go empty handed again.

In personal news, I finally got myself a new bike and it’s a monster straight from the gates of hell. Of course I mean that in the best possible way.

I went from this rather anemic ’83 vt500.

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To this beastly ’02 VTX 1800.

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It’s hard to tell from a picture, but this thing is a beast. If you don’t believe me, there are plenty of videos on YouTube of them eating Harleys alive. I actually have to be careful about how hard I twist the throttle, because the torque makes me feel like I’m going to slide off the back. I love it. It’s also much more comfortable than my little 500. My legs are out in front of me instead of tucked under like they are on the 500.

That’s not to say I’m not going to still ride the 500. The 1800 obviously doesn’t get nearly the gas mileage the 500 does, so I’m probably going to use the 500 for running around town and to work and back during the summer. Except for during Sturgis. I can’t wait to show this monster off to all the Harley guys.

Unfortunately, last night was the first freeze, so riding season is just about over. Still, I wouldn’t have gotten such a great deal otherwise.

That’s about it for this week. I’ll hopefully be back next week with another update. I’m also working on something spooky to post for a FFF sometime in the month of October, so keep an eye out for that.

Remember to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

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And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon

 

A Weekend Amongst My People

Over the wekend I attended the South Dakota festival of books. I had a wonderful time. Imagine Comicon for book nerds. The city of Deadwood was overrun with writers of all types, teachers, librarians, and all sorts of people who just love a good book. There were wonderful seminars on all aspects of writing. I just wish I could have gone to them all but choices had to be made.

My favorite part was mingling and getting one on one time with authors at all stages of their careers and really talking with them about what I can expect as my own progresses. This is why I love the literary world. Unlike hollywood, most authors don’t look at you as a threat or competition. They’re more than willing to give a struggling writer as much helpful advice as possible. There’s a camaraderie as if they’re taking you into the fold.

It was great talking to successful writers such as Craig Johnson, the Author of the Walt Longmire mysteries. The series of books on which the T.V. show Longmire is based. If anyone has a right to be a bit cocky right now it’s him, yet he’s never too busy to shake your hand and chat with you a bit. He seems to love to encourage fledgling writers and was quick to tell me how terrible his first draft was.

I also met with Sandra Brannan, author of the Liv Bergen mystery series. She gave a wonderful early morning talk on writing great villains that really got me thinking. Imagine my surprise when later that day, while sitting having a pipe and digesting everything I had learned, someone taps me on the shoulder to say hello and I look up to see Mrs. Brannan. It was a great feeling to be recognized by a successful author. I’m sorry to say I haven’t read any of her work yet but you can bet I’ll be rectifying that soon.

I hadn’t heard of Rhiannon Frater, but the topics of her talks combined with the fact that she’s quite an attractive woman certainly had me intrigued. The first talk I attended was called, “Zombies & Vampires: The Lure of Fantasy”. Later she was on a panel called, “It’s the End of The World As We Know It”. Both talks were awesome and she had some great theories on the appeal of zombies, vampires, and things that go bump in the night. I picked up the first book in her, “As the World Dies” trilogy, read the first page, and had a hard time putting it down long enough to pay for it.

I also enjoyed wandering the exhibition hall and talking to writers who weren’t quite as famous but seem to be well on their way. In particular, I enjoyed talking to Thomas Gondolfi. He is downright hilarious and just the back cover of his book “Toy Wars” had me laughing so hard I had to buy it. Also, any man in a kilt has got to be a good guy.

I am eagerly looking forward to next time. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to set up a table of my own. I suppose the only way for that to happen is for me to get off here and do some writing.

Links:

Craig Johnson
Sandra Brannan
Rhiannon Frater

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