What I’m Reading in Summer 2021, by A Dude Abooks

People ask me what kind of business I’m in, and I say books… and business is good. OK, not really. I’m just an amateur still working on mine. Well, maybe I’m an unreliable narrator because here I am yet again, writing another blog post instead of doing revisions. A new writer friend who’s also working on a memoir whom I met online first at a Writers League of Texas event invited me to a coffee shop. He asked me why not pause the blog to focus on the manuscript? I said that wasn’t a bad idea but that I can’t seem to quit blogging. Maybe he’s right. Or not. Because any guy who suggests meeting in a suburb called Pflugerville (the p is silent), but who doesn’t drink coffee and knows I don’t either, must be a little touched in the head. Just kidding, it was a pferectly pfine pflace to pfontificate about the pfiner pfoints of pfublishing and such.

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Writers’ League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat

For those new here, I’ve written a manuscript. It’s about the period covered by the first two years of this blog. It took a year to write the book, alternating days that I write this blog. Another year passed while I edited it. I was sitting in a virtual drawer for a while, then I found a couple of people to do beta reading. While that process continues, this opportunity came along after I recently joined the Writers League of Texas. Membership has its privileges, and one of them is discounts on programs like this class on revision. (Many are free.) Although not cheap, I realized it’s a bargain and that I couldn’t really afford NOT to take the class. Although the goal — to write a book — was accomplished, if I ever want to get this book done and out into the world somehow, it’s going to take a lot more work. After all, as they say, writing IS revising. I’m thinking of it as an investment. Who knows? Maybe it’ll make me some money some day. (Unlikely, but possible).

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The Writers League of Texas: Membership Has Its Privileges

After a number of years of hearing about WLT, attending some of their pre-pandemic Third Thursday events at Book People (the largest independent book store in Texas), and meeting some folks at Owen Egerton’s One Page Salon, I finally joined up. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. I suppose it had to do a bit with the Wayne’s World motto: “We’re not worthy!” When actor-director Tate Donovan asked me at a OPS if I was a writer, I said yes for the first time. Hey, that makes me one degree of separation from Jennifer Aniston, whom he dated after playing her boyfriend on Friends. As we all know, she’s well known for her books. Strike that, reverse it. I mean looks! Humunuh humunuh! No, it’s her mad acting skillzl OK, that’s tangential, but it was diversionary. Mmm, more big wordz!

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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 ‘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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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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Goodreads: A Social Site for Book Lovers

There’s nothing like reading a good book, getting lost in another world while sitting at home and never moving out of your chair or exchanging pants for pajamas. I used to be a voracious reader, although the advent of Netflix sure hasn’t helped. Sometimes I still am. Given my penchant for recording my activities like bicycling, doing yoga, and walking, it makes sense to record what I read, too. Goodreads is a site for just that, a digital bookshelf, and much more. If you’re a reader, you probably know about it, but if you don’t, it’s worth a gander.

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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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Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down: Onward Through the Fog

Austin awoke to a soggy, gray blanket of fog that only horror writers and car insurance agents love. I awoke with fog as well, but in my brain. Just as well that I have no job to be up for at the butt crack of dawn. There was also a ray of light: a note on my blog from a Seattle author I mentioned the other day, Paulette Perhach. An authot writing to A Dude is big deal, y’all! Later in the day, I got connected with another Seattle writer, Carol Tice, a ghostwriter who does coaching. Eventually, I got my cobweb-addled brain and body out for my walk and a bike ride… into the rain and mist I went.

Downtown on an errand, I ducked into a Starbucks (a tiny coffee company based in Seattle you may have heard about) for a tinkle and to use their free wi-fi. I used to live in Seattle. After a few years of suffering through miserable winter days like today, escaping often to the YMCA for what I dubbed a “shake n’ bake” — sauna, steam room, hot tub — I was chased out of town by the constant state of darkness and moisture. The Starbucks gestapo was also to blame since they rightly claimed I didn’t buy any coffee. All that’s to say that rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Except you can’t keep a good dude down for long.

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On the Journey from Being a writer to Becoming a Writer

Recidivist visitors (recidivisitors?) to this web blog know that I aspire to be a Writer with a capital Dubya. As I sit here in a branch of the Austin Public Library, for a group writing gathering of the Writers League of Texas, I am reminded that I already am at least a writer. I keep a journal that sometimes sits for weeks without an entry. I compose emails and texts. This blog, entries into websites like the one that got me a very lightly used bicycle helmet quite cheap. There’s the occasional greeting card, to do lists, and today I reworked my resume. At times there’s even a missive, epistle, screed or rant. I think about making the shift from a hobbyist, diarist, listmaker, blogger, etc. to become a paid author. However, it is a large step from writer to Writer.

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