My Book Report: It’s Beta Reader Time, Baby

It’s taken me a good while to get to this point, but I’ve finally done it: I printed out Chapter 1 of my book to give to a beta reader. Of course they weren’t there went I went to drop it off, so I’ll do that tomorrow. And I’m working out getting an electronic copy to my first victim I mean volunteer who is out of town. Just today, a third person offered to read it. So the ball is rolling, wheels are in motion, the train is leaving the station… insert other clichés (which a good writer knows to avoid). Anyway, Sorryless wanted updates, and as my steadfastest reader and mostest commenter, I want to keep him happy.

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Book Review: HEFT ON WHEELS by Mike Magnuson

Courage is a word you could use to describe bicycling, especially the urban kind I do wherein one risks one’s life while several-ton killing machines blow by at high speeds mere inches away. Or bike racing, BMX riding with the ramps and jumps and tricks, or screaming down a mountain on a bike: all take some degree of courage. But writing? It doesn’t take any courage at all to sit down at a laptop and start hammering away, right? Well, that’s easy to say if you haven’t tried to write a book. And when it comes to memoir, laying your soul bare to people you never have, and never will meet, takes a big chunk of gumption.

I should know, because I’ve been writing this blog for over five years, albeit with far less courage since I use a nom de plume / velo. I have also written a book — a memoir. I have yet to find the courage to even show it to others to read. (I’m getting close to sharing with beta readers, once I figure out the details, having finally just found two awesome volunteers.) But in Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, his 2005 memoir (I know, I’m very late to the party), author, creative writing professor, magazine article writer, and cyclist Mike Magnuson has courage in spades. (Heft is a follow-up to his previous memoir, Lummox.) As quoted in a speech he gave, I’d even go so far as to say he has “sixteen suitcases full of courage.”

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Book ‘Em Dude-O! I Completed Editing My Bike Memoir. Now What?

Just a little over 11 months ago, I wrote a post titled I Finished My Book, but It’s Far from Over. Now, I’ve finished editing it. Well, you’re never really finished editing until it’s published. Even then, there may be future editions. Point is, I’ve come to a place where I need to find some other eyeballs. For my collection of eyeballs. Just kidding! I mean having other people read it. Particularly an editor. Therein lies the rub. Because editors are like unicorns – a few people claim to have seen them, but they’re extremely rare. And they possess some powerful magic:  they’re able to get your book published — or not. So I’m looking for my unicorn. Or eyeballs. Or unicorns with eyeballs. I mean magical unicorns with eyeballs. Yeah, let’s go with that last one.

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That Blinking Cursor: Thoughts on the Book, Welcome to the Writer’s Life

Every blogger, poet, journalist, novelist, copywriter, song writer, short story writer, screenplay writer, textbook writer, memoirist, novelist or author of any kind knows and fears it. Those with computers, at least. It flashes on and off the screen, steadily. Hide and seek. Come find me! He/She/It/They says, taunting, daring, challenging the would-be composer of word art. I dare you! Just do it! Write something, already, you hack! When the muse visits and the words come, the cursor dances across the screen, doing your bidding. But sometimes you’re stuck, sitting there at your desk, on your couch or bed or deck chair, at the school library or maybe your favorite coffeehouse. Waiting for inspiration. That blinking cursor, it mocks you, makes you question your abilities and perhaps, on a bad day, your entire existence. What is one to do? Well, writers write. So even if it’s crap (perhaps like this paragraph, you may be thinking), you plow through it. Like I just did.

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Help Enter a Dude Into the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest & Conference!

I’m putting this out into the blogosphere and universe to see what happens. Could be nothing, could be something, could be everything. The thing is this: your humble, currently unemployed (I prefer sans portfolio) blogger, bicyclist, book writer and other b-words cannot currently conjur the coins to enter himself into this contest. So, I’m thinking that perhaps perfectly pleasant people perusing these pages permutate into patrons.

That is, they (YOU) sponsor me to join the Texas Writers League and their Manuscript Contest – TODAY! (3/20/20) The benefis for me are having a snippet of my book reviewed professionally and even better, a shot at an awesome prize: free admittance to WLT’s Agents and Editors Conference. So if you want to learn about this and might want to pitch in, keep on reading.

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Leading Literary Light Leaves League: Michael Noll

Last night I attended another Writers League of Texas Third Thursday panel. I was late to the discussion, but luckily they all get uploaded as podcasts on their website, WritersLeague.org. Fortunately, I was able to get to the second half because it was the swan song of moderator and WLT former Program Director Michael Noll. Author, teacher, lover of snacks, dad, teller of dad jokes, and genuinely nice guy, he will be missed.

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I Finished My Book, but It’s Far from Over

It’s true, I have completed the first draft of my bicycling memoir. It covers the period wherein I rode 10,000 miles in two years. A quick comment at the end of my recent post about comedian Jake Johannsen went largely unnoticed, but I completed Chapter 24 (one for each month) and added an afterword and epilogue. Now I’m going back and editing it before I start showing it to other people. With the positive reception to The Bike Rider and the Farmer, my first fiction piece, I feel like the year of writing effort is beginning to pay off, and I wanted to share that with A Dude Abikes readers. Lastly, since Sorryless, who frequently comments (and who writes an entertaining blog you should check out, after mine, of course!) has requested the occasional update, here it is. Is four links in the opener three too many? If so, I am not sorry.

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BOOK REVIEW: Real Artists Don’t Starve, by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is a successful blogger, podcaster, coach and author of five books including The Way of Art. In Real Artists Don’t Starve, he draws numerous examples from history and modern times to illustrate his points. You can read all about Jeff at his web site: https://goinswriter.com. Also, this book has its own site: https://dontstarve.com.

This book came to my attention due to a note from Nori Rose, the Bluebonnet Witch. Thanks, Nori! As a temporarily unpaid writer, I checked it out for free from the Austin Public Library. What a socialist institution if I ever heard of one! Free books that you take home, read and return? Outrageous! But I digress, as I’m wont to do. Here are some of my thoughts on his book.

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Some of the Bike Blogs I Follow and Update on A Dude Abikes – The Book

Sometimes (like now) when I find myself lacking a topic, I’ll peruse other blogs on WordPress for ideas.  There’s Biking in LA who does a very regular coverage of all things bike (including way too many accidents) in, you guessed it! — Los Angeles.  Jack Akehurst, Life Behind Bars (as in handlebars – clever!) just wrote about his riding and use of Strava over in Nottingham, England.  Half-fast Cycling Club from Washington State I think is almost done with a very impressive cross-country cycling tour.  Pam LeBlanc, Fit City is here in Austin, Texas (ATX); she just covered the arrival of the Texas 4000, a ride to Alaska for cancer awareness and fundraising. Sheree, View from the Back over in France wrote about her trip to watch a bike race in the Basque Country.  I’m sure I’ve left a few out (let me know!), but they’re all interesting when I get time to look.  You’re encouraged to go check them out!

Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve landed on to blog about… Continue reading