So you can read my books

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Did Milo see what I saw in the faces of those sitting at the tables in Meilori's?

Eyes haunted by past choices, voices shedding truth like skin or lovers.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

We were both English teachers, engaging in sentimental tango's of Us vs. Them.

We had something else in common: 
we both grew up with magic ...

the magic of creating worlds, pushing against the boundaries of what was and was not possible in publishing.

I smiled at him across the table:
"Your book, YAKUZA TERRITORY, comes out this Friday, doesn't it?

Milo nodded.
"Yes, and I am pretty proud of it.  It is the 3rd time I've used Charlie Madison, a private detective, as my hero."

I said,
" In Girl of Great Price, he was hired to track down a kidnapped little girl with an ability too bizarre to believe.

In  Immaterial Evidence, he was on the trail of an invisible criminal with revenge in his sights. While those two novellas were more like Blade Runner meets The Maltese Falcon,

the third installment, Yakuza Territory, is like Die Hard meets Assault on Precinct 13. "

Milo smiled, "You've read my books?"

"Certainly, but Amazon, or DayStar, keeps taking down my reviews."

Milo paled,
"DayStar is just a fictional character, right?"

I sighed, "Yes, just like Sherlock Holmes ... who is sitting at that far table chastising Benedict Cumberbatch."

I said, "You should thank Benedict.  Before he strolled in, Holmes was about to chastise your Charlie Madison for failing to notice the details when he first walked into that fateful police precinct."

Milo smiled, "Charlie was one of the first characters I created at age 15.  He's grown deeper since then, but he is still all too human."

The ghost of Mark Twain settled into the chair besides a startled Milo and asked, "What writers inspire you?  Besides me, of course."

Milo said, "Ray Bradbury inspired me to write and submit a short story every week since 2011.

Robert Heinlein's rules for writers have also inspired me to keep my work on the market until it sells and to dive right into new projects in the interim."

Whiskey glass in one hand, cigar in the other, the ghost of Ernest Hemingway sat down heavily on the other side of Milo.  "Please tell me you are not one of those NaNo's this month."

Milo said, "No, but I do have a daily goal:

After my day job (teaching junior high English), I try to write 1,000 words of fresh material in addition to ongoing edits, revisions, and resubmissions. 

On bad days, I churn out about 500 words. On great days, it’s closer to 5,000. But I’m content with 1,000 a day."

Hemingway glowered at Milo.  "500 words daily was my usual output."

Victor Standish,  playing the trumpet on stage next to Quincy Coleman, called out.  "Everyone has their own limits, sir."

Victor said loud, "My book came out in 2011. What were your favorite books of that year?"

"I enjoyed Under the Dome by Stephen King; somehow, he was able to keep me reading a thousand-page novel without even realizing it. He’s a master of suspense and escalating conflict.

I also started reading (and still am—I read at a slug’s pace) Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which has got to be the most imaginative, unique, and utterly cool novel I’ve ever read."

Hemingway smiled smugly and snorted up at Victor, "Ha!  Seems you weren't good enough either."

As Victor lost himself in his music, I asked Milo, "What piece of advice would you give writers for the rest of this bruised year?"

" Believe in yourself, believe in your work, and cool stuff will happen. Write often, submit often, and join Write1Sub1. Come for the challenge, stay for the community. You’ll be glad you did!"

Milo looked around.  "I really like Sam McCord's adventures.  Is he anywhere around?"

A voice of velvet ice murmured behind him, "You are so lucky you mentioned you liked my husband's tales."

Milo looked over to me.  "You did warn me about this place."

A Public Service Announcement concerning Milo James Fowler


  1. A thousand words a day. I'm impressed. Beyond impressed!
    Die Hard meets Assault on Precinct 13 - that's a great mix.
    Congratulations on your latest, Milo!

  2. Alex:
    1000 words a day AFTER grading papers! Ouch!!

    Yes, congrats on Milo's new book and for getting out alive of Meilori's! :-)

  3. A. Wow. That's like a short book in 50 days or a large book in 100. So cool. Congrats to Milo!

    Love the great voices of this piece. Helllloooo to Mark Twain, love from MO.

  4. T. Powell:
    Yes, but those 1000 words are FRIGID FJORD over and over again!

    Mark tips his hat to you in appreciation! :-)

  5. Very nice to see Milo visiting Meilori's, and getting lots of attention too. Two teachers, with imaginations to make any subject interesting, I'd wager.

    Best of sales to Milo! I like the character Charlie Madison, he has some charming traits. . .

    Hope all is well with you too, Roland!

  6. Nice forum of ideas. I'm inspired and yet I think I also need someone to physically pull me out of my chair and kick me in the ass.

    I liked King's Under the Dome a lot--it kept me engrossed as well. I read it while I was sick in bed for a prolonged period. The reading of the book almost made it a pleasure to be in a bedridden state of illness.

    Tossing It Out

  7. D.G.:
    I have used all my insurance benefits for this year, so I am in a bit of pain in several areas of my body.

    But if you can look up, you can get up, right?

    Yes, Charlie Madison is appealing! Unless, of course, you are Sherlock Holmes! :-)

    King's DUMA KEY was like that for me. I still listen to the audiobook off and on.

    I tell myself that no one is going to work on my dream but me. What I can conceive, I can achieve if I but want to more than I want to sleep! :-)

  8. Too much fun, Roland -- thanks! Truth be told, unlike this fictional version of me, I crank out 1K/day only when I'm in the middle of a project, not 365 days a year. And while I wrote & subbed a new story every week in 2011, I've been on the monthly Write1Sub1 plan every since. With 100+ papers to grade every week, I had to cut back somewhere!

  9. Milo:
    I got some of the info from your 2011 interview on the Net.

    Better to cut back on stories than sleep. Falling asleep behind the wheel to work would not be a good thing!

    Highest sales to you!

  10. A thousand a day? Sigh. I'm such a slacker. But then both Milo and you, Roland, seem to have a greater facility with words than I do. And yes, I can certainly see Mark Twain sitting down for a chat with you both.

  11. You are a prolific writer Milo. Congrats on getting your novel out there.

    Loved your video too :)

  12. Hi Roland and Milo - sounds like you had fun meeting up .. and I'm glad so many other authors and characters were able to join you.

    Seems like settling in to the writing life is what's needed - then the need is there and we go on at our own pace ..

    Cheers and good luck to you both - Hilary

  13. Yes, it appears that you, Roland, and Milo are much alike. All the best to both of you!