Various, Sundry and Unmentionables

Thought it high-time I dropped an update or two as to what I’ve been up to recently.

Lessee…where to begin…


Well, you’ve seen the podcast posts. This is my first foray into audio social media, and I must say I’m having a blast! You can find all of the episodes at Just search for Creator Chaos.

It should show up.

The FCC hasn’t banned us…yet…

The Creator Chaos crew is a solid group of writers hailing from a variety of backgrounds.

They are:

Peter James Martin (@Brennan_and_Riz) – author of The Strange Tales of Brennan and Riz (found on Amazon). You can find more about PJM on his website –

Zack Brooks (@zbrooksauthor) – author of several novellas, including How Not To Be A Rogue, How Not To Be A Scribe, and the Cupid series (also found on Amazon).

Kelvin Rodgrigues (@KelvinROfficial) – author of the #vss365 (which stands for Very Short Story) serial Haskins & The Commander (only found on Twitter).

These guys have helped me overcome my fear and loathing of social media. I recognize social media is a necessary evil to promote my “brand”, but I’m an extroverted introvert, which means I’m good at pretending to be relatively interesting, but I’m truly a boring human being who would rather hide in my room than actually socialize with the rest of the world.

Ironic that my job as a commercial property underwriter is essentially in sales, which requires me to interact with lots and lots of people, and yet the truth is I detest math (e.g. figuring out pricing for exposed assets – that’s an insurance thing) and suck at mingling at parties.

Ah well.

But that’s a topic for another time.

We’re up to 5 episodes (the 5th to drop this week), plus the one entitled All About Me, whose focus is, well, me!

But I’ve got other stuffs happening!

Here be the highlights:

I’m waiting to hear whether I came within sniffing distance of some placement in a First Chapter writing contest (which I suspect I didn’t, but stranger things have happened). I’ve unblogged here before about how I don’t do writing contests much (the last one being sometime before the last Dark Age), but I saw this one and said why not.

(Besides, it was only an $8 entry fee)

Lessee..what else…


I received my 35th official rejection from a literary agent who claims he wants gritty science fiction, crime, fantasy stories. Funny how Bloodlines, a sci-fi crime thriller with magic that’s been described as “gritty and noir” didn’t interest him.

His loss.

Last night, I finished the 29th chapter of Pieces of Eight, the sequel to Bloodlines. My wife is afraid I’m going to kill off some characters…


(Exit stage right)

I’ve also read several novels written by indie authors.

Which ones, you ask?


Bits & Pieces, by Dawn Hosmer – a kind-of Sixth Sense-ish thriller full of love, loss and murrrrrrrrrrrrder.

Aliens And Ice Cream by Michael James – an interesting take on War of the Worlds from a Midwest suburban family’s point-of-view. It needed some editing help, but the characters are excellent and the story moves nicely.

The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright – an epic science fiction tale of love and adventure that dragged in places, but was otherwise entertaining.

The Wayfarer’s Journey, by A. R. Pearson – a high-fantasy epic adventure with magic and bad guys, battles and true love, but no Gilder to frame for it.

The First of Shadows by Deck Matthews – phenomenal epic high fantasy with a fully-realized world and worthy characters. I’m looking forward to the sequel whenever Deck finishes it.

We Are Mars, by Cheryl Lawson – character-driven science fiction thriller with an interesting premise, and chock full of intrigue and suspense.

Beyond The Wicked Willow, by M.J. Rocissono – middle-grade adventure somewhat reminiscent of The Goonies with cute, relatable characters.

The 44 Rules of Amateur Sleuthing, by Jamie Nash – a hilarious middle-grade crime “thriller” that could also use some quality editing, but was a ton of fun to read.

And I’m currently in the midst of Percival Gynt and The Conspiracy of Days, by Drew Melbourne. Fans of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams will adore this fabulous sci-fi adventure. It is witty and extremely well-written, and I’ve lost count on the number of times I’ve laughed out loud.

I guess that’s it for now. My goal is to have the first draft of Po8 finished by the end of the summer. That all depends on how much energy I’ll have going into the summer. From a work standpoint, things normally slow down considerably right around now, which should help.

And my two main dudes are at overnight camp for the next 25 days.

Now I know what you’re thinking: party-time at the Hartogs!

Not so much.

Remember, extroverted introvert.

I’ll be quite content to just sit in my living room basking in the silence of not hearing my two main dudes bickering over what shows to watch.

Of course, I’ll also miss them terribly, because they are my two main dudes and I love them more than soup (which for those who know me well, understand just how much I love my main dudes).

So I guess that’s it today.

I apologize that today’s unblog wasn’t full of pithy epithets, kernels of wisdom or the occasional bad joke. It’s just an update on goings-on in my life, and a means of motivating me to get off my sorry ass and work on Chapter 30…where I kill off a bunch of important characters…



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