About David Joel Miller

David Miller is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Counselor, faculty member at a local college, certified trainer and writer.

The pain of revision.

By David Joel Miller, Writer.

After the writing comes the revision.

Cover for planned accidents book

Planned Accidents cover

As some of you are aware, I spent the month of November participating in the NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) contest. This event is the fourth time I have attempted this and the third time I have succeeded in completing a first draft of a novel in one month.

Participating in the contest has taught me a great deal about writing a novel. What I’m struggling with now, even more than writing a novel, is the process of revision, trying to turn that first rough draft into something worth publishing. I would like to share with you some of the challenges I’m experiencing in revision, but first a little background.

Casino Robbery started the Arthur Mitchell mysteries series.

Planned Accidents is the second in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series. Arthur’s adventures began in the book Casino Robbery. After the financial crisis in 2008 Arthur Mitchell, accountant, gave up working at Fantastic Finance to take what he thought would be a safe and stable job working as an accountant for a Las Vegas casino. Arthur was trying to avoid anything risky. What Arthur hadn’t expected was to be in the middle of taking his fiancée to lunch when the casino was robbed. During the robbery, the criminals shot Arthur and killed his fiancée.

Because of the robbery, Arthur developed a severe case of PTSD. Unable to return to work Arthur opened a small thrift and collectible store on a rural Highway between Las Vegas and Utah. Unfortunately for Arthur, it turned out that as being shot wasn’t accidental, someone had wanted him dead, and he was pulled into investigating the robbery. Arthur became both an amateur and an accidental sleuth.

Planning Accidents turned into Planned Accidents.

Arthur has settled into running his thrift store, thinking the danger is behind him, when someone begins contacting the former employees at Fantastic Finance demanding money. First one and then another of Arthur’s former colleagues dies in mysterious accidents. At least that’s what the police think they are. Arthur’s not so sure any of this is accidental.

I started this novel with the working title Planning Accidents. What I found, as I wrote was that talking too much about planning the accidents took the focus off my hero Arthur and started me writing more about the people who could be planning these accidents. To shift the focus back on to Arthur and how he is drawn into investigating these supposed accidents, I’ve decided to change the title to Planned Accidents.

My first draft ended up with a lot of loose threads.

As I began my revision in January, I discovered I had included a lot of events that had nothing to do with Planned Accidents. Several times in the first draft I had Arthur buy some limited-edition lithographs. When Arthur inspects the lithographs, he discovers he has two copies of the same piece of art both with the same serial number. Somebody has been counterfeiting works of art and selling them directly to collectors. Once Arthur purchases the art from those collectors, the fraud becomes apparent.

Of course, the counterfeiters don’t want to be caught, and they make life extremely dangerous for Arthur Mitchell, as in they try to kill him. Once I realized this whole subplot had nothing to do with the Planned Accidents I pulled out the discovery of the duplicate lithographs and left that for Arthur to encounter in mystery number three or maybe even number four.

What do I do with the letters from the dead person?

One of the lots Arthur buys at an estate sale includes a bunch of letters an elderly lady had written to a police detective which were returned to her unopened. The author of the letters wrote to the detective describing a murder she had witnessed. Again, I discovered I had another crime for Arthur to investigate but trying to send him in that direction while he is trying to avoid being killed by someone who is planning his accidental death just mucked up the plot a little much. I pulled out all the material about the discovery of the letters from the witness, and I’ll save that for another Arthur Mitchell mystery. Once I get Planned Accidents finished, I think I want to start on this mystery, currently with the working title of “Letters from the Dead.” I think once we start opening the letters we will find the elderly lady witnessed more than one shocking crime.

Does this book need another page of description?

In the revision process, I struggle to decide whether I have written too much description or when there are insufficient details. I read a lot of other fiction, particularly in the amateur sleuth category. Occasionally I’m impressed by some extraordinarily brilliant description which produces a vivid image in my brain. More often though, when I reach long passages of description, I find myself speeding up, skimming over the description.

I am starting to feel like description, at least in an amateur sleuth mystery, is like spices in a stew. A little bit of spice, especially chili powder, can enhance the dish. But I don’t want my novel to resemble my stew, the time I accidentally dumped in a whole jar of chili powder.

I have an idea. If any of you readers would like to read draft two of “Planned Accidents” sign up for my mailing list or use the contact form and when it’s ready, I’ll send you an advanced reviewer copy of “Planned Accidents” and you can tell me if I’ve included too much or too little description. Of course, other feedback would be helpful also.

Does that dog ever do anything?

Something else I have been fixing as I’m working on draft number two is sorting out the role of Arthur’s dog Plutus. Plutus was important in the Casino Robbery book because he had belonged to Arthur’s fiancé’s Janet. In this mystery number two, Plutus kept turning up in various chapters but not doing much. As I revised, it became plain that Plutus unquestionably has a part to play in this story. Since Plutus helped Arthur solve the first mystery, I think I should put him to work helping to solve mystery number two and beyond.

There are some early thoughts about my revision project. I’ll share more with you in the future.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Why do people use drugs? Video

Why do people use drugs? Is drug use good or bad? In this video, we look at how drug use might progress from initial experimentation to a severe use disorder or addiction. We also examine some other drug-connected problems.

 

Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wanted to share some thought-provoking quotes with you.

Today seemed like a good time to do this.

Awareness.

Awareness.

Awareness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Awareness.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future.”

― Eric Berne, Games People Play

“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Essays, Letters and Miscellanies

“I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading has opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”

― Malcolm X

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Video – A brief history of drug use in the U. S.

Humans have a long history of using drugs. Drugs have many connections to our history here in the United States. This brief drug history video explores the history of drugs.

Why do indie authors give books away free?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Why do self-published authors have free books?

Writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Almost every day I received two separate emails promoting available e-books. Some of these books are available for a reduced price, and others are available free. Well-known authors and the established publishers may run a temporary price promotion, but they rarely, if ever, offer their books for free. Why do so many self-published, indie authors, myself included, offer their books for free?

Self-published authors want to attract new readers.

Well-known authors already have a ready-made audience for their books. Avid readers are waiting for the next release. Lesser-known authors must work harder. And when you’re a brand-new author, such as myself, finding readers for what you write takes a lot of effort. One way authors, even established authors, attract new readers is to offer their book free.

Offering a book for free is a marketing decision. Authors may offer one book free for limited time, or they may have one title in their series that is permanently free. What indie authors collectively shouldn’t be doing is giving away so much free stuff that it’s hard to charge enough to support their writing.

Indie authors need to find “their readers.”

A substantial number of readers have very specific preferences for the kind of books they read. If you like action adventure, you’re not likely to read cozy mysteries or romance. New authors need to put themselves out there so that the readers who might potentially become their fans get exposed to one of their books.

Even authors who have built a group of regular readers need to continue to search for the readers who might be interested in the type of book they write. There are pros and cons to getting “typecast” for an author. Once an author is identified with a particular genre, you’re likely to disappoint their readers if they write something in another style. For an author whose name is closely tied to one category, they are more likely to have a ready-made audience for each subsequent book they write.

Authors need book reviews.

Book reviews help people decide if this is a book they would like to read. There are two types of reviewers. Professional reviewers are likely to receive a lot of books in the competition between authors for their reviews can be fierce. Professional reviews are displayed on the book’s page towards the top with the editorial content.

Reviews from readers and their “star” rating are a form of social proof. If you are writing literary fiction, having a famous book reviewer say good things about your book will help sales. For most genres having a substantial number of readers who have reviewed the book can boost the sales. Even a few negative reviews can help the reader decide whether this book is for them, particularly if the reviewer gives reasons why their review was low. One way to get more reviews is to offer many free copies during the initial book launch.

Free gets a new book noticed.

There are millions of books available right now. Each day that goes by hundreds of thousands maybe millions more get published. When people go looking for a book the search engines will display the book they think that person would want first. The popular book that is selling lots of copies will appear on page 1: the indie authors new book, the one no one is bought a copy of yet maybe ranked 67,000, and it may appear on page 3,350. Offering that book temporarily for free can bring it up in the rankings and get it noticed. Some may booksellers, by the way, separate the free books from the pay books. But even getting seen on the free book page can get an author better known.

Free promotions get the spotlight back on your book.

Once a book has been on the market for a while sales slowdown and the rankings drop. Running a free book promotion is one way to get that book back in the spotlight and arrange for people who hadn’t seen it before to notice it. Free book promotions need to be used carefully otherwise the only time the author “sells” their book is when it’s free. Some platforms limit the author’s ability to offer a book for free. This is one incentive for authors to list their book exclusively on Amazon. Books that are exclusive to Amazon can be offered free for a certain number of days during each listing period.

Perma-free Books interests readers in the series.

Authors who write ongoing series, one with a recurring protagonist, frequently set their first book permanently free or offer it at a low price to encourage new readers to try the series. If you like the characters and the author’s writing style, most readers are willing to buy subsequent books about that same character at the regular price.

Being a new indie author, I continue to experiment with ways to market my books. I think all my books are reasonably priced, but occasionally I offer one of those books free for a period. I run those free promotions on different books and often move the free deal from platform to platform. If you want to hear about new books and promotional prices including free book deals sign up for my mailing list for watch the blog for announcements.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Drug Ed #2 Video The Drug using experience.

Today the second Counselorssoapbox video in the Drug Ed series is available.

#2 Video The Drug Using Experience.

I hope you enjoy the video and please leave a like and a comment.