Once Upon a Time at Starbucks…

dougs-backpack

So I have a story for you.

Yesterday I was doing some writing at Starbucks. Then my dad came by for coffee and we enjoyed it outside because it was a nice day. Afterwards, we went to McNellies for dinner. It was only after that I realized I had left my backpack outside at Starbucks.

Yeah…holy…you know what.

We went back and hoped it was somehow still there and tucked away in the corner. But it was of course gone and no one had turned the bag into Starbucks. My bag had my laptop and my backup drive in it. (I know I’m stupid)

Well, I was screwed. My outline and my first draft progress on the new Skid novel was gone. Lots of hard work now all of a sudden vanished. I went home and was convinced I would never see my stuff again.

Today I spent four hours rewriting my missing outline the best I could do from memory before taking a break and looking on Facebook. There, I had a new friend request. When I looked at the lady’s Facebook page, right there on the front was a post asking if anyone knows Doug Solter because she found some items he might want back.

Talk about being blown away!

I posted my number and she called. My luck continued as I found out my laptop was still there. (Cue hopeful-sounding movie soundtrack now) We then met at a public location to exchange the backpack. She was kind and didn’t take any money when I offered. She told me it was in a ditch by the side of the road. She had passed it three times before thinking that some student might have a computer in the bag so she picked it up. Lucky for me she did and my name was on the startup menu on the computer.

The weirdest thing was that nothing was missing! Laptop, power supply, backup drive…I even had my kindle and some nice headphones in there as well. Very strange.

So one huge thank you to Nina from Bixby, OK for being a kind and decent human being.

And all the SKID series fans can thank her for saving the book…literally.

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Out of the Ashes

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Phoenix detail from Aberdeen Bestiary (PD-US)

Out of the ashes and into the fire. This blog has been as quiet as a slug dancing across a leaf for several months now so I think it’s time to shake off the cobwebs, kick the tires, and dust off this poor thing to see if it can still run. Stay tuned for a lot more posts about young adult books, television, movies, music, travel, and other (I hope) interesting things. This will be a more personal blog where I’ll post about subjects that interest me rather than a blog devoted to posts about the craft of writing because a writer is more than just that. The world shows us big, shiny beads that can distract writers from doing more important things, like writing more chapters in that work-in-progress that readers are impatiently waiting to read. So this blog will be devoted to all those big, shiny beads and why they distract me so.

Spies Like Me Book Release!

Hi Everyone!

I know this blog had been quiet for a long time. It’s hard to write posts when you’re focusing all your creative energy and free time writing more books. In future, I hope to post more about various things that I find interesting and I hope you will too. At least, I’m going to try and that’s all I can promise you.

In the meantime…I’m releasing a new book! This young adult novel starts a brand new spy series called The Gems. Book number 1 is called Spies Like Me and features four teen girls who kick butt and make the world a safer place. Bellow is a quick trailer to give you more of an idea about the book.

If you’d like to find out more, here’s the universal link with all the retailers.

And, to celebrate the release I’m running a giveaway where you can win a Grand Prize of a free Kindle Paperwhite. First Prize is a signed paperback copy of Spies Like Me. Second Prize is an eBook pack of all five of my books.

Important: This giveaway closes in 72 hours – so if you plan to buy the book anyway, doing so right now will give you five additional giveaway entries. But there is no purchase required for entry.

All the best,

Doug

 

Writing Conferences…why bother?

writers-conference

Writing Conferences…why should a writer bother attending them?

Good question. But you know my answer already because if it was a no, why would I waste time to write this blog post? I would sleep. I like sleep.

Why should writers bother with writing conferences? Two reasons in no particular order…

First, no one understands what writers go through, except other writers. No matter how much your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, life partner, or small furry animal loves you…they’ll never understand what you’re going through. The moment you complain about how your key scene in act one needs more internal conflict or how you dread rewriting all your third-person narrative into first-person because you’re convinced it’s the right thing to do…your loved one will give you a blank stare.

Or they’ll say…

“You’re a great writer. You’ll think of something.”

You know they mean well, but that’s not helpful.

Writing conferences are awesome because it’s the one place where writers can talk about writing and everyone around you understands. Writing conferences are like that bar on the 80’s TV show Cheers, everyone there knows your name, figuratively. They know what you’ve been through because most of them have worn your writer’s shoes. They know how hard it is. They might have rewritten a book from third-person to first-person and they might have learned a short-cut you can use to take the sting out of your rewrite. They might know how to approach an agent. They might know how to write a query-letter. They might even know a cool new way to introduce internal conflict in a scene you’re struggling with.

Writers understand other writers. And since gathering shy writers together in a public setting is about as hard as herding squirrels…any opportunity to step into your writer’s bar, have a drink, and talk shop is something a writer should jump at.

I guarantee you’ll feel better and get a much-needed boost to your writing brain.

Second reason you should go to a writing conference…networking.

Yuck! Dirty word! No!!!!!!!

Chill out. Networking doesn’t mean being a salesman. It means…listening…to people. That’s all. Get to know everyone you meet. What do they write? Who do they like to read? Find the person under the stranger you’re meeting. Get them to talk and listen. Maybe they’re just another writer like you. Maybe they’re a New York lit agent presenting at the conference. It doesn’t matter who that person is…talk and listen to them.

Next, think about how you can help them, not how they can help you. Is that lit agent looking for a zombie-mermaid paranormal romance? You don’t write that, but this nice lady you met at a session yesterday does have a manuscript like that. Help introduce them.

Is that new writer expressing trouble with writing in first-person? Offer advice or a good book on the subject. Help them.

Why should you network? Because you’ll need help on your writing career. Lots of help. Doesn’t matter if you’re pursuing traditional publishing or indie publishing, the same rule applies. I can’t tell you how many times my friends came to my rescue when I needed their help. A free beta read? No problem. Offering me a free interview on their book blog during my launch without me asking them? No problem. A famous young adult author helps me set up a Q&A session with them and their agent to help my other writer friends? No problem.

It’s a great feeling when friends do that. It makes you want to help them even more.

And then they help you more.

You see where I’m going with this?

Give to others without expectations and the smart ones will reciprocate. That’s networking.

And where’s a great place to network and learn from lots of writers and people in publishing?

You know the answer.

If you would like to network with me and my friends…our chapter of SCBWI is having a children’s writing conference on Saturday, April 16 in Oklahoma City. You can get all the details clicking on the banner below. You don’t have to be a SCBWI member to go. You just have to love writing for kids/teens and you want to get serious about it.

Hope to see you there!

2016-Spring-Conference-Flyer

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My heart can’t help but flutter at the sheer potential awesomeness of this movie. However…my heart must overcome my brain’s horrific memory of that midnight showing of The Phantom Menace. The night the child inside me died. Yes, it was only a movie. But growing up in 1977, Star Wars was everything. As an 8-year-old it shifted my perception. Made me dream. It created the creativity inside me. Or at least gave birth to what was already there.

I hope this movie can give back at least one hour of those six magical ones I spent in the summers of 1977, 1980, and 1983 as a kid munching on popcorn and dreaming of adventures in space. If this film can give just a little of that magic back, I’ll gladly overlook any of its imperfections.

But if Jar Jar Binks shows up I’m gonna lose my sh*t.

Legends Book Cover Reveal!

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Here’s the final cover for Legends (Skid #3) and I couldn’t be more happy with it. I think my cover artist Travis Miles did a fantastic job. I wanted something a little different from the other two books, but still have the same feel as the rest of the series. Some friends have told me it looks feminine and fierce.

What do you think?

The eBook release date for Legends is set for Tuesday, September 1st. But you can pre-order the book right now for the special price of $2.99.

The paperback should be available in October.

My Girlfriend Bites Release Day!!!!

So happy to announce the release of the eBook version of MY GIRLFRIEND BITES! This book comes at the end of a long and rocky road. The manuscript was almost deleted a few times out of frustration, but it always had a way of coming back. Since Aiden and Bree wanted to be published so bad, I had to relent and make their wish come true.

To celebrate the release, I’m doing a two and a half week blog tour AND having an awesome giveaway! All the details for both are further down on this post. You can enter the giveaway on this blog or on the other blogs on the tour. Some entries you can do every day!

To my local readers and those who still love the feel of paper, the paperback version of MY GIRLFRIEND BITES will be out in August. I will post that information later so be sure to check back next month for updates, or better yet — join my newsletter and never miss out on anything!

Want to buy the book?

Amazon
Nook
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

My Girlfriend Bites Blog Tour Schedule

 

July 16 – Froze 8 Blog 
    Guest Post by MGB character Bree Mayflower!
July 17 – I Read Indie
    Guest Post by MGB character Aiden Jay!
July 18 – Girl in the Woods
    10 Things You Didn’t Know About My Girlfriend Bites.
    
    Guest post: High School and the concept of The Future.
July 22 – Lady’s Book Stuff
    Guest post: Sneak Peek of first two chapters of My Girlfriend Bites.
    
July 23 – Oops I Read a Book Again   
    Interview with MGB character Bree Mayflower. Plus MGB dream movie cast!
      
July 24 – Morgan Dragonwillow
    Guest Post: Protecting Manhood in YA. My opinion.
      
July 25 – Dana Square
    Author interview.
   
     Interview with MGB character Aiden Jay.
July 29 – Alli’s World 
     Guest Post: What Inspired Me to Write My Girlfriend Bites
August 1 – Reading Teen
     Indie Spotlight

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