Tuesday, April 10, 2018


As I've been saying in the last couple of posts I'm moving my web presence to WordPress. There are a few reasons for this, the main one being I just felt it was time for a change. Tonight I won't be copying a posting from this page to paste onto that one. This will be the debut of a blog post written strictly for the new venue. It can be seen at Dane Baylis Undeterred in a short while.

If you've been following or just visiting this site from time to time I'd like to extend a very warm invitation to visit at the new digs. No need for house warming gifts, just drop by and say hello!

Dane F. Baylis.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


I Said I Was Moving

     Anyone who has visited this site in the last few days or has been receiving my blog updates is aware that I am moving from the place I've occupied for sometime on Googles Blogger service. I have opened a new page with WordPress and taken the next step in my life as a professional writer by purchasing a domain name. I am not comfortable suddenly jumping from one platform to the other, so I will be transitioning from one to the other over the next couple of weeks. The new site bears the same name (Dane Baylis Undeterred) and can be found at this link Dane Baylis Undeterred.

I'm really looking forward to old and new acquaintances dropping by too check out the new address!!! See you there.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


This Isn't Goodbye. I'm Just Changing Neighborhoods.

For those who have been with me a while, and those who come and go, I'm going to be moving. No, not in the physical world. Here in the digital. I've decided to open a new blog location featuring the same irreverent, and at times irritating, content. I'm heading over to WordPress where I'm in the process of constructing some new digs. (You have no idea the amount of stress and aggravation this entails).

The new place will have the same title, 'Dane Baylis Undeterred' but it will be at a different web address. More on that as I progress with the design and decorations. For those of you who have been with me a while I extend a heartfelt invitation to come over and say hi. If you're just finding this older site, hey, try the new one.

My thinking in this isn't all that original. It's a case of the old adage, "Location. Location. Location." Things have been really cozy here but just haven't produced the results I'd hoped for. Of course, I'm risking discovering it wasn't the place but the proprietor. Anyway, I've invested a few bucks to see what happens as far as how it affects exposure and response. I'd like to make it as welcoming as possible as I keep pushing out into the literary world in hopes of that break.

It's all a tad nerve wracking but I've got my fingers crossed. Hopefully it doesn't turn out that what was really crossed were my wires. I'll be posting in both locations for a while until I get a sense of what I'm doing at the other site.

Again, my deepest thanks for anyone who has been a repeat visitor. I hope that some of what I've said here has had a positive effect on you and maybe prodded you to take your own chances!!!

Monday, April 2, 2018


     Any journey, great or not, has a beginning. Before the first step is taken. Before the first bit of dusty road, stretch of water, or mile of empty air is traveled the trip is begun. It begins, first, with the desire to go from here to there. Next comes the questions of what mode of transportation will be necessary? Is it possible to pick between more than one? How far are we going? How long will it take? When we arrive, what will the weather be like? Do we speak the language? Do we carry the right currency? Will we be welcomed or regarded with something less than bonhomie?

     This is the real life of the writer. All the minute details that make up the stories we compose. Who is the protagonist? Is this a man or woman, a boy or girl? How old? From where? Height, weight, complexion, hair color? What is their educational background and social position? What do they do for work? Married? Divorced? How many times? Straight? Gay? Bisexual? Asexual?

     Where does this person live? Have they always lived there? Are they just passing through? What year is this? What else is going on in the world? Who is their main antagonist? Is this another character or are they in conflict with something inside themselves?

     The more questions you can think of to ask about your story and the characters that populate it the better able you are to bring depth and insight into your creation. You may very well not use a fraction of what you uncover, but how much more rich a world you will lead your readers into.

     I've encountered a number of writers who skip past this step. They wander about in incomplete surroundings trying to get us to believe in characters who lack emotion and lineage. They give them abilities or revelations that don't hold up to investigation. They put them in places that are no more than the empty facades on which Hollywood screenplays are too often hung. In the case of fantasy and heroic fiction, they arm them with weapons without having any idea how they are to be employed or, worse yet, endow them with some magical 'ability' to make up for any lack of connection to the believable.

     Research is everything to a writer. From the inception of a tale to finding a plausible market for the finished product. How many times have I heard of writers just shot gunning something out there in hopes it would hit a target? The literary marketplace can be a cold and lonely enough place even when you think you've applied due diligence. Getting something, anything, published can be a real arduous trek and an incredible accomplishment. How much more so when you are approaching all the wrong people with the wrong goods?

     Right now, I have several pieces of short fiction, a number of poems, and a completed novel out to different venues for consideration. I spent days and untold hours getting to know the inhabitants of the fictions I created. I invested weeks, months, and years in the writing and re-writing of every one of them. I spent time researching queries and submissions. I've retired any number of works to the, "I'll revisit that idea again" file. Nothing gets sent out or resubmitted without being re-read and if need be re-written.

     What's my point? Nothing great was ever created from thin air. Nothing worth reading was without history and complexity. That which went into the story or the marketing. If it seems such a simple, but precise, concoction you want to bet it was sweat over and worried about. Every thing you do as a writer demands you to live in its skin and breath its air. Research is the blood of the written word. Without it, you're dancing with cadavers. 

Friday, March 16, 2018


For those of you who have been following this blog, (God I hope someone is), you're aware I've been working on a novel length work of Science-Fiction for some time now. Well---Drum roll please---Ta-Da, I finally hit a point where I can say, I think I'm ready to start the next step! The writing's done, 315 pages and 83,000 words later, and I won't go into how many drafts, I have a story, "EYES LIKE WALLS". Now all I have to do is find an agent who will give it a look, and hopefully they can find a kindhearted and forgiving publisher with the insights of a Jesuit Priest and patience of a Buddhist Monk.

I've been told time after time that the writing part is something you should enjoy because the selling part is a real uphill slog. I'm not unfamiliar with that process, though on a smaller scale. I write a good deal of short fiction and have to endure finding homes for those works. Honestly, the best advice I can give anyone is avoid the drama of sitting around idle while you're trying to pedal a completed project. Move ahead with another, and another! Getting published on any scale in any venue can be a slow process. If you're hitting the refresh button on your email account all day long you're only going to make yourself nuts.

I've been working on an outline for the next book while I was massaging the rewrites of the present one. During my breaks in between revisions I've written more short fiction and edited some poetry submissions. This has all been the easy part - Or at least that's what I'm supposed to believe - Marketing the thing (And myself in the deal) I've been told will make one wonder what the hell they've gotten into. Well, time to find out.

In the meantime, I'm considering posting some limited abstracts of the work for comment. Anyone have any ideas on this? I tend to be mildly paranoid about the idea. I had a bad experience with someone years ago involving a script. Let me know your thoughts, feelings, experiences. I'd REALLY like to hear from you!

Sunday, March 4, 2018



Woke up this morning and reminded myself it was Sunday, my down day. So I got a cup of coffee, went about my ablutions, then stepped off to the kitchen. The lady who has been good enough to allow me to reside under her roof for thirty-eight years (Without bludgeoning me to death with a rock in my sleep) had expressed a desire for Mediterranean omelettes. In view of her tolerance and kindness, I felt it a small recompense.

The cooking done I perused the local paper and looked back on my week. Sixteen active short story submissions had become fifteen active submissions with the receipt of an email rejection. A problem easily rectified by finding another publication to inflict my warped world-view on. Another poetry submission sent out and a few more to pay attention to. First draft of another short story started, outlined in my head and only needs to be populated, put into a setting, the intricacies of human interaction given voice...etc.

Most of the week was consumed with the latest revision to my novel, EYES LIKE WALLS. Not going into which rewrite this is, suffice to say I've been at it since early August of last year. In the meantime, queries sent out or updated to the venues I've sent short stories to. Some of these are bumping up close to a year in the "Under Consideration" category. When you're pushing close to double the "Normal Response Time" you start fluctuating between wanting to buy a lottery ticket or gargle razor blades! Throw in agonizingly slow responses to inquires and you wonder what made you think writing fiction was a good idea?

Like I said - Today is supposed to be my fucking DAY OFF! But, in the middle of trying to shut it all down and read a book, I remembered I'd promised to be more timely in my blog posts. So here I sit, in the same chair I sit in pretty much six days a week, trying to be witty and creative while wondering if any one's reading these things besides me? (Something even I try to avoid except during the revision process.)

Anyway, tomorrow it's back to the title page of the novel and the start of another pass through that. Honestly, each time has gone quicker than the last and I've pretty much hammered out or body puttied over the more glaring wrinkles and dents. Now I'm down to the fine tuning and, this next phrase could be the hex, pretty happy with what I've got. 82,000 words in 44 chapters on 312 pages. All I have to do now as far as heavy lifting is concerned is send out the query letters and proposals to agents. But what's a couple of more hours a day at the keyboard?

Do me a favor once in a while? Go to the bottom of one of these posts and send me a reply. I won't sell you to the trolls of marketing, trust me. I would just like to know someone is reading this drivel and what your thoughts are. Thanks, Dane F. Baylis.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018



I'll be the first to admit this entire writing thing can be devastatingly lonely. However, if writing is as much a part of your makeup as eating, sleeping, copulation, and neurosis - There's only a few remedies open. The first, of course, is to become stunningly famous and spend the rest of your life on a never ending book tour (Want to bet how long it takes for adoring fans to start becoming life sucking drains on your time and creativity?) I get it, no fans = no income. The converse is also true. Fans equal demanding crowds who never want to see you evolve or change.

So, what else is there? Alcohol and drugs? Not bad, if you can find the balance between inebriation and creativity. Not to mention all the brilliant young careers, and lives, ended in a stupor. Of course, you could turn out to be the next Charles Bukowski and make eighty proof self-abuse into a genre. But the odds aren't with you, take it from a non-practicing alcoholic. (Then again, I was never really a practicing one. No practice necessary. I had it down coming out of the gate.)

You could throw in the towel. If you're like me you stand in front of the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning wondering, "What's the fucking sense?" An hour later, and a couple of cups of coffee, I'm in front of this damned keyboard - Write, revise, submit, rewrite, revise, submit. It's what you do. PERIOD!

There's another route. The 'Writers Group'. As they used to say, "Here there be monsters". Not all groups are the same, just as all writers aren't. With the Internet there sprang up any number of groups. I don't know about you, but the whole faceless entity judging my work from afar, robbing me of the opportunity to choke the life out of some bastard I'd reached an impasse with just doesn't play.

There are, of course, long running local writers groups. The ones that are dominated by either memoir writers or those devoted to illustrated children's books. The first generally turns out to be people committed to leaving a written record of their existence to their great grand kids. The second, well - I'll leave that one alone.

Lately I've run aground on the shores of 'Meet Up'. Again, I urge caution. Being the only entity in the room sporting gonads I immediately wondered after my sanity. When the main pursuit of the other faction turned out to be fantasy novels they've been working on far too long I definitely got the feeling I'd slid a bit over the edge of the map. Not that you can't get something out of any critique done with sincerity and candor, but sometimes gender warfare is camouflaged beneath the most pleasant of approaches.

I'm nostalgic for an earlier time. One when writers got together with one another through a shared mutual appreciation and knowledge of each others work. When we pushed one another for originality of subject, plot, and language. Before the entire world thought it was going to conquer the literati fortress with self-publication. I'd ask for honesty in that also, but I'd rather not be implicated in some inadequate sot's suicide.

What's my point? If you must have companionship, exert the same discretion you would choosing a puppy. Preferably pick one with some training and a bit of pedigree. Not a thoroughbred, but one that won't piss in your shoe, eat your lunch, and keep you up all night with its whining. Find that one you can spend a lazy day walking down the local rail line and splitting a beer with. (Yes, I have unabashedly contributed to the substance abuse of a canine.) Find the kind of companion who will help you dig an escape route under whatever fence you find yourself stuck behind. The one who knows where the free eats are and the occasional bitch in heat.

If you really feel out of place in a group, duff it and move on. Better morose and lonesome in front of a typewriter than listening to inane drivel you have utterly no interest in. Above all remember, if you write for any reason other than you simply have to write, you're a god-damned liar. Any really good endeavor should cause you great discomfort south of your navel before it lifts you to the stars.

Then, get up tomorrow morning, look in the mirror, and ask yourself, "What's the fucking sense?"

That out of the way, GET TO WORK!  

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Here it is, late Sunday afternoon in mid-February and it dawns on me that so much of what I do to rest and recreate also is consumed by my creative process. Like the three different books I finished today. Well, I have to admit, one was a re-visitation. That was Miyamoto Mushashi's, "BOOK OF FIVE RINGS". The others were Dan Varley's "JAPANESE CULTURE, 4th Ed" and Leonard Koren's, "WABI-SABI for ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, POETS, & PHILOSOPHERS". The first of the three is research for the next long piece of fiction I intend to pursue. The second was for a refresher in history and to deepen my sense of a people and nation. The third was to tickle my aesthetic sense and artistic conceptions.

In the in-between time I have been writing and rewriting short fiction while researching markets. I've re-opened the novel I have in the works for another revision and am exploring possible agents. Fresh poetry has been put to ink and I've begun to conceptualize a new direction in my work as a painter which I'm hoping to open time for soon as I can get queries out the door for the novel.

Meanwhile - C'mon? You had to have seen that coming - I've made contact with a couple of local Writers Groups. Nothing beats putting something down in front of a fresh set of eyes that have the courage to speak honestly about what they see. Unfortunately, most of the groups I've encountered locally have been of the mind that you can't judge someone else's quality of work or artistic intent. Hogwash. That's a re-issuing of the same tired old crap I've heard for years from the timid or inept. Really? The Greats were all part of communities that spoke their minds openly to one another! Sometimes it led to hurt feelings - Or duels - But what's wrong with a little honest emotion?

What's this all about, just where am I going? I hope beyond both our horizons. Do you have the courage to admit that, without stimulus and input from outside your own thick dome, you will never really excel? Whether you are a musician, writer, painter, potter - What ever - If all you ever really delve into is your ego you're not getting out of the Kiddie Pool. I keep harping on this because I see so much of it. Artists who are afraid to venture out beyond the surf line where the really big 'Bite You's' swim. Those who will not take the plunge into an unknown because it is just that, UNKNOWN!

Nothing of significance would ever have or ever be accomplished without risk. No one in this world gets remembered for being boringly mundane. There are any number of examples of under-achievement in the self-published drivel being offered at a to remain unnamed mega-online outlet.

Go for a road trip, take in a concert outside of your usual comfortable listening habit, visit a church, tabernacle, or temple attended by a faith you have no reference to. Go to a land where you have no history or language. Learn to cook. Bake bread. Sew. Sail by wind power alone. Navigate without a GPS. Fly a plane or sky dive from one. Even if you never produce anything artistic - You will have led a life beyond the imaginations of the VAST majority of people crawling across the surface of this planet. When you finally come to the end of days you will know you have lived! But, just maybe, it will start a fire under that creative boiler that I believe exists inside every soul and you will be amazed at what's inside you!

Thursday, February 1, 2018



Everyone wants to be part of a group. If for no other reason so you can behave like a Musk Ox when the wolves of reality start circling. You know you're familiar with the behavior. Trying to sink into the center of the herd so that when the predators make their move it's the ones on the fringe they take down.

That works for herd animals. Not so much for creative humans. Face it, we all go through it. I'm a poet so I hang around with poets. I'm a painter so I associate with painters. I play a kazoo so...You get the image, right?

It's not that being part of a community is a bad thing, unless that community is so afraid of criticism it avoids it like the dentist. Reacting with that, "Yes. I know the dentist is a necessity and I should occasionally submit to having him prod and poke me. But it huuurrrrtttssss!!!!" Of course the alternative is slow rot and decay. Which is the fate of a lot of people in the arts who barricade their egos inside a cuddly little group of ass-patters. People who tell them what wonderful examples of the aesthetic ideal they are and no one has the right to judge them. They all attend the same soirees. They all patronize the same venues and outlets. They all bore each other to tears with their patent, suffocating emptiness.

Truth is, if you're not being challenged by those around you - If you're not being pushed and prodded - Your chances of making any real headway starts to resemble an un-cared for water craft wallowing and sinking. If the people around you are so insecure in their own talent and dreams as to be deathly afraid of  rejection, they will never push you to be better than they see all the members of their clique or, God forbid, themselves! They may even take every opportunity to make sure you never rise on your own two feet to walk like Homo  Sapiens.

When you're seeking out the peers you deserve, find those with a brutal honesty. When you're looking for a place to publish, perform, or exhibit, aim higher than you ever though prudent. When you fail, take note of the possible reasons, get up off the floor, and try it again. Rewrite, repaint, rearrange. Then go right back into the maelstrom lashed to the mast. As the Samurai saying goes, "Three times down. Four times up."

I keep track of all my literary submissions in a spread sheet. There are a lot more entries in the "Rejected" category than any other. But I have had my successes and continue to do so. Last year was a marvelous year for my paintings and prints. I've won several prizes and now have art exhibited in a number of private homes. I've sat on a stage playing solo at a local Bluegrass festival and sweat and shook my way through the entire performance. But I did perform and was rewarded with some very kind applause. Every bit of it sharpened my desire and skill. Every bit of it made me a better artist.

When something I've submitted for consideration isn't accepted, it isn't a failure. It's a learning experience. I sit down with the piece and I say, how can I do this better. I solicit criticism, suggestion, and feedback. I research and experiment until I'm cross-eyed and dizzy. I write scared because I have learned if it doesn't scare the hell out of you, you're not trying hard enough!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Today is a milestone! Just after Fall began I completed the first draft of my novel, EYES LIKE WALLS. I set it aside for a few weeks to allow the dust to settle and to work on a couple of smaller projects. Well, today I completed a major revision of that novel.

My main concentration was continuity and flow with care and attention given to grammar and spelling. I began work just before the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. Time was, of course, taken for family and friends both then and at Christmas and New Year. (I'm as obsessive as any writer but try to hide my neurosis). Working a schedule of 5 - 8 hours a day, six days a week eventually got the job done.

What's the final output? 320 double spaced pages in standard formatting for a total of 86,290 words, including chapter numbering and headings. I actually reduced the original by over 5200 words which I feel pretty good about.

What's next? As hard as it is I'm going to walk away from the manuscript for a week. During that time I'll be researching agents and editors to make my pitch to. Any suggestions from the viewers of this blog would be appreciated. It's a contemporaneous tale of science fiction tied into some of the more prevalent conspiracy theories and today's cutting edge developments in science and technology (Think DOCTOR STRANGELOVE meets THE X FILES with undertones of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS). If you've had any experience with agents in this genre and can point out a useful contact I'd love to hear from you. You can shoot me a line in the comment box below. I review all such submissions before they go public, so if you want this to be just between you and me indicate that in your comment. But please leave an email so I can respond to you personally. I will not share it with others without your permission.

Is this next week going to be totally devoid of work? I can't even believe I posed that question. No. I am researching a new novel and have an idea in its rudimentary form for a new short story. I swear - I'm going to buy an old Underwood manual typewriter and have it, along with a ream of paper, buried with me when I finally go. All that time to myself with no phones, commitments, or interruptions! Ah.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018



The heading for today's entry was something I used to see in an art studio I was involved with on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. It's something that turns up from time to time among fine and graphic artists, copywriters, fiction authors, musicians. It's Latin and translates as, "Art for Money". The flip side of this is seen in the banner above the famous MGM lion. There you will find the words, "Ars Gratia Artis", which, in English is, loosely, "Art for Art's Sake". I doubt Louis B. Mayer (The last 'M' in MGM) took that at all seriously. He probably didn't think anyone watching his films in theaters would get past the roaring lion.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who don't value the artist. I worked in and around advertising photography, film, and video for a while and am more than familiar with hardball negotiations. Everyone wants the fruits of your labor but nobody wants to pay you what that fruit is worth. Even when they are looking to use it to fatten their bottom line.

If you've been around for a while then you know what I mean. If you write then you have been offered 'contributor's copies' over and over. These are fine the first couple of times, the ego swells as we pull it down from a shelf to show a friend, relative, or other writer. After a while though, the shine wears off and it's just another dead end. Especially if you've been paid a few times for your efforts. This alone is reason enough to look at offers of 'exposure' and request being exposed to a little more hard cash.

In the image industries (graphic and fine art, film, photography, digital production, soundtracks and theme music) there's the ubiquitous 'spec' projects. Work done with the understanding that you might get paid if it gets used and the final customer REALLY likes it. I'm not going to go into the details I've heard concerning the number of people who have been screwed like that. If nothing else, if you're still just starting out and are tempted by these type of deals, ask for a copy(ies) of the final product for your book or reel. Payment in kind is okay if it can actually highlight you as a creative personality.

In the end, in a world where the labor of the individual is devalued time and again by the system or corporations, the only way you can be treated fairly is by saying, "No thanks", to deals that are less than thinly veiled con jobs. Your time is worth something. Your education is worth something. Your materials and efforts are worth something. But if you don't stand up and say enough is enough you will be viewed as an easy mark. In the long run, the market only values what it is made to pay for.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018



Okay, the holidays are over. That means that my office is no longer under the dominion of guest lodging and I'm back at the keyboard. Does this mean I haven't been working at all? No, though between the 23rd of December and the 1st of January I was out of my cozy den. Like a wolverine poked out of his lair. So long as you didn't make eye contact I was unlikely to go defense and start slobbering and growling.

In anticipation of being persona non grata in my normal territory, I printed out several chapters of the novel I'm working on so I could at least carry on with the revisions they needed. (Thank technology for the invention of the i-pad. Though I'm still a throwback comfortable with yellow pads and ballpoint pens.) I also wrote a few new pieces of poetry and debuted one in a weekly venue in the next town over. In between I spent some time selecting a couple of paintings for a show at one of the more prestigious public galleries in the area. The image above is one of the two entitled, "Frequency of Persistence". It's an original acrylic on canvas and something of an homage to the Japanese wood block print masters.

What does that have to do with revising a novel or writing poetry? A long time ago, a good friend and early mentor told me, "If you do something long enough, some notable will be fool enough to call you a master based strictly on longevity." In other words, if you PERSIST, you can succeed. Conversely, if you sit around on your ass waiting for inspiration and acclaim all you're likely to do is wear out the seat of your pants. The train you're waiting for probably already left the station, so your best bet is to shoulder your pack and get walking.

I could have waited for the holidays to pass while taking a vacation from my work - But why? We've all had the experience of setting something aside for a while only to return and find that those half-a-dozen ideas we were thinking of incorporating have either fled or staled. I don't tolerate that kind of sloth in myself. Which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed the success I have. Not because I'm brilliant or gifted. I just won't allow myself to stop.

Last night I was relaxing and watching a movie. Well, I thought I was relaxing. In the beginning of the film something tripped the synapses and made a connection to something I'd seen and heard the night before. This all chained into a thought that would make a great subplot in the next long work of fiction I've begun outlining. (Yes, outlining one while revising the other). This all bubbled to the surface through many years study in Zen Buddhism.

Confusing enough yet? In Zen we are taught that the path most people envision is the straightest route to the top of the mountain. (When you get there take a good look around. The wise old holy man you were expecting? Uh-uh.) Life has a habit of throwing insurmountable obstacles up right where we least expect them. The route we take is really determined by the forks we find in our road. We may even find that we never reach the summit. Who cares? If you're paying close attention to the trip, you'll find everything you ever sought. That's why we say in Buddhism that there are 84,000 gates (or doors) on the path to enlightenment. If the path you're trudging doesn't work, change course. Open a new gate and walk through.  Realize though that everything is interconnected to a degree as unfathomable as the neurological paths of the human brain.

The glory of the brain and the creativity it harbors is that they are both boundless. However, if you don't stoke the furnace, if you don't run the machine on a regular basis, like any other device, it will rust and freeze up. Is every destination on the journey worthwhile? No. In fact, a lot of them are dead ends. But that doesn't mean that all you encounter on that particular branch is worthless. Like any pioneer on foreign soil, it's up to you to select things of possible meaning or utility and pack them away for when they're needed. This requires sorting and classifying and, sometimes, discarding or squirreling away some of your horde when it has no immediate obvious use. Notebooks, photos, audio recordings, video, your library and the libraries and museums of the world are the cache's of human fruition and knowledge.

But for any of it to work you have to PERSIST. Otherwise no one will ever know you were here or call you a master. Deserved or not. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

It's All About You!

If You Don't Believe In Yourself, Who Will?

The images at the top of the page are the front and back of my business cards. Simple, clear, and a statement of one thing - My belief in myself and what I'm doing. They are an introduction to people who don't know me and a statement of what I do. More than that, they are a reinforcement of my own self-image. I never leave the house without my card holder and at any opportunity I take it out of my pocket and present one of my cards to someone who has been kind enough to allow me a moment of their time.

Why? Is it about ego? Is it about putting on airs? Is it about striking a pose? Not at all! It's about letting the world know that I take what I do seriously enough to want to present a professional appearance at all times. It's letting that person on the other side of the conversation know that I'm willing to invest more in my craft and artistry than vague desire.

It also is a chance to deepen the conversation. What type of art do I produce? I'm a painter and print maker. What medium? Mostly acrylic on canvas. What do I write? Poetry and short fiction and I'm currently working on the advanced stages of a novel. Where have I shown or published? I've been in several venues in the Santa Barbara County/Ventura County region of Southern California and have placed work in a number of private collections in the US. I've been published in a number of smaller literary journals and am always working on expanding my recognition.

It's mostly about that catch phrase you hear everywhere today. Self-talk. Those words that originate in your thoughts and enter into conversation that validate who you believe you are. When people ask me who I am or what I do I have no hesitation - I'm an Author and Artist. Why capitalized? Because these are worthy occupations and something I have invested a lot of time in. 

But does anyone else think that way about me? Well, this past year I've received several awards for my art, had photographs published online, and there's a shelf of books in my office that all have my written works of one form or another in them. Has any of that made me rich or famous? Hardly - At least not yet. But I have garnered recognition, I've been invited to present my work and opinions, and I've been asked to share my process and thoughts with other artists and writers.

Gee, if I'm not making bundles of cash - Why keep at it? Because it beats the hell out of television and video games. It takes time and research that gets me out of my own dome. It exposes me to other people's thoughts, ideas, and emotions and makes the world a much more interesting place. It teaches me that there are giants to be followed and emulated and some of them you've never heard of either. The belief that you have something to say is the spark. Someone else's belief in what you've said is the fire. But if you don't fan the flame who will ever know it was there?