Welcome to the official author's blog for Pico Triano. From this site you can find links to most of my online writing. The menu below will bring you to some of my more popular work and allow you to navigate the site. In the sidebar you will find feeds listing the latest articles on all my websites. Relax take you time and enjoy your visit.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My Mobile Writing Station

You have to excuse the bad case of hat head. I wear a hat at work all day and a toque to keep my head warm in the great outdoors

Bit by bit I've put togther a functional writing station that I pretty much take with me wherever I go. It allows me to fill in time usefully that might otherwise get wasted. It also will allow me to write bicycle touring stories while I'm on tour. I'm not sure the opportunity to do a major tour is in the cards for me but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

My Equipment

I was quite impressed with the capabilities of my wifes tablet and we saved up to get an inexpensive one for myself as well. There was one thing that I found I didn't like though. I don't like writing with the touch screen keyboard. It's just too awkward for me. We found an inexpensive keyboard and case that matched my tablet and while I'm still getting used to the very small keys, I love it. I can produce writing work on the free open office word processor for Android which I downloaded not that much slower than I would at home. Recently we added a telephone receiver so that I can skype from my tablet anywhere I can get a public WiFi signal. The possibilities excite me and the fact that I can do it at minimal expense really gets my attention.

Making Use of My Tools

Right now I am waiting for my son to finish work and my wife to pick us both up and bring us home. I have the capability right here to finish this, take a selfie with the built in camera, upload everything to my author's blog and publish it before my ride gets here. Not only that everything is small enough for me to pack with me on a self-contained bicycle tour if I chose to do so. How cool is that? I know I could spend lots of money and get a smartphone and do this all even smaller but I'm happy with the inexpensive set up we've assembled. I've got a decent sized screen and a functional keyboard along with the basics for being a writer on the move.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

General Frustration Is No Reason Not to Write

We work with a composting toilet system in the camp we live in. Last night the temperature dropped to -17 C or 0 F with who knows what wind chill factor, and the overflow pipe froze. This was a frustration we fought with last winter and in hopes of avoiding that this winter we wrapped the pipe with an insulation for that purpose.

Turns out that was a really bad idea. This is the worst freeze up I've ever dealt with. The insulation did not keep the pipe from freezing up at all. Worse it makes it almost impossible to thaw out. I peeled it off and am looking at using a different method of dealing with the problem. The chore is eating up all my writing time today and I'm not very happy about it. So while I wait for the next pot of water to get hot, I'm here bellyaching about it.

We're back to last year's solution which doesn't prevent freezing of the pipe but does limit it. I shove the pipe back into the building as far as I can. That leave only about a foot that can freeze. When it does I'll pull it out far enough to immerse the end in an old bucket with hot water in it. It'll have to be done with annoying regularity but at least it works.

I have set a goal of producing something every day on average for thirty days. I'm only one ahead of pace and am pretty determined to stick with this. This problem is not going to prevent me from reaching that goal. I just hope I don't miss too much sleep on top of everything else.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Early Resolution

My writing is stalled and I aim to do something about it starting today.

I'm starting a thirty day challenge. The goal is to write on average an article or blog post a day for thirty days. I say on average because there are going to be days where writing anything will be impossible. I need to make up those days. For me that means trying to get ahead of the game near the start. I never do well on these type of challenges if I'm behind from the opening gun.

Most of these posts will go on my author's blog right here: From Pico's Pen or Pico's Writing Practice. Anything on any of my blogs counts as well as articles on hubpages, and being optimistic, any freelance article work I pick up. What doesn't count is discussions on myLot and articles that aren't published until later. That would make this a non-challenge.

There are sacrifices that will have to be made. First I'm going to have to get up earlier in the morning. I'm a better more productive writer before I've worn myself down on the job. I'm not saying I can't be productive in the evening I'm just better in the morning. It won't be an easy adjustment to make but I think it will make a difference (otherwise I wouldn't bother).

The second sacrifice will involve my online gaming time. I can fritter a lot of time away playing games online. Probably the biggest most useless culprit is Candy Crush on Facebook. I will stop playing that game for the entire thirty days. That will give my friends a chance to catch up. The only game I will continue to play for that period is Runescape and that I have to stay away from if I'm behind in the writing challenge.

Something that is going to help me a lot is the USB hub I picked up at Jean Coutu in town during the week for about ten dollars. Since switching to Mieke's cast off laptop, I've had a problem conveniently accessing my photo stash I built up on the old computer. I have them on a memory stick but didn't have an available port without unplugging something I need. That has now been resolved and adding pictures should be that much easier now.

So this is the first of thirty. Let's see if I can make this happen. Hope to have another something written this evening. Then I'll be one ahead on the first day.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Boss Bean is Sick

Got word through our author's only Facebook group that Jo was in intensive care at the hospital. That comes as a big shock to all of us. We have come to rely so much on her and appreciate all the hardwork she puts in on our behalf. Whenever I've had a problem, Jo has always gone above and beyond to have to problem rectified.

To illustrate, this past year my son Wesley was offered a sneak peak at one of Andy Boerger's children's books in exchange for a kid perspective review. The initial review was done reading an ebook copy but he was supposed to get the hard copy in the mail later. That's where things got weird. Our address is just a wee bit hard to send packages to. It took some real hands on leadership from Boss Bean to get that done. I am grateful for her efforts and Wesley loves the book. Not only that Wesley has shown a stronger interest in reading ever since.  Who wouldn't want to do business with a publisher like that?

Without her at the helm though, a lot of us worry. She does so much to keep us in the loop that her absence is huge. Makes us all feel a bit adrift. Not a good feeling. Our prayers are with her. Hopefully she'll be back soon but not before she's ready to do so.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bubblews is Dead, but MyLot Has Been Resurrected

A couple of days ago Bubblews abruptly disappeared from the Internet replaced by a brief announcement of closure complete with an excuse. I don't think anyone was really surprised. I describe it as one of the ugliest, most protracted writing site deaths in history. I retrieved most of my writing that I considered as having some value but not all. I got lazy. It isn't like I didn't know it was coming. I do feel for those who lost work there.

I migrated to Bubblews with a group of writing friends from a site called MyLot. At that time, they had a change of ownership and told us they would be making wonderful upgrades to the site. When the changes came, we liked them all except the part that we would no longer be paid anything for our content. We were hurt and upset, but at least it was done with some class. We were given ample warning, we weren't given the runaround, there was never a time when we couldn't retrieve our work and we were paid every last penny we were owed to that point.

I made infrequent visits back to the site out of curiosity. On my last visit, I got a surprise. The original owners have regained control of MyLot and have reintroduced the payment incentive since some time in August. It isn't nearly as lucrative as Bubblews was in its heyday, but we know that wasn't sustainable either. It does have it's advantages over the old Bubblews.

  • 1) Payout is reached at a very reasonable ten dollars. I expect with my limited participation to hit payout every month.
  • 2) The administrators are far more capable than the one's on Bubblews. MyLot's previous stint as a paying site lasted something like seven years and I don't think the old formula was the problem.
  • 3) If you had lots of Internet friends on Bubblews, most of them are already writing on MyLot. I've known some of these writers for a decade or more and we do kind of look out for each other.

Quite a few of my real life friends and family joined the bandwagon on Bubblews. Some of them actually profited financially. I hope we all had fun until the wheels fell off. I'm writing this as a sort of public service announcement. No referral program exists on MyLot at this point although they did say it may be coming. At this point, I will gain nothing financially from friends and family who decide to give MyLot a whirl. I just want to make sure that any of you who might be interested won't get left out.

Website address is simply www.mylot.com

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Grammar Nazis: My Thoughts

A reviewer on one of the sites I submit writing to recently wrote something that kind of boggles my mind. This person noticed a punctuation error in the first sentence in a piece I had just posted and stated that they would normally stop reading at that point, dismissing the entire thing. They praised the rest of the article. I'm not saying grammar and punctuation are not important but to reject something on the first perceived technical error that has no bearing on the content for me is a little over the top. I thanked the reviewer and corrected the error, but I still can't quite get this out of my mind.

If you are a grammar nazi, I like to think of you as a useful friend. I'm a storyteller first and a writer second. I deal in ideas, motives, plots and sometimes grammar and punctuation take a backseat. I need you guys to help me deal with my obvious weaknesses as a writer. If I'm dismissed on the first minor error, we haven't done each other any good at all.

I'm going to take this a bit further. I've been a member of writing.com for quite a number of years now. I have friends there that can write grammatically flawless rough drafts punctuated to perfection. When it comes to writing fiction, though, many of them struggle to create living breathing characters. The writing is often dead and boring. My daughter who is also a member of that site has noticed the same thing. Between us, we have written over 1400 reviews on that site alone.

The point is that we need each other. We creative types need help from those know the nuts and bolts of the language. Please don't look on me as some kind of lesser species because I struggle to correctly use commas. Keep reading and maybe you can learn something.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Doing Work in the Background

My spare time is spent right now doing background work to make my freelance writing efforts succeed in the long term.

I am studying to become a better copywriter. Some of my efforts show definite improvement. In a little over two weeks I wrote two articles on Hubpages. Both of those articles have been written with improving visibility of my writing in mind. The first one surpassed my all time Hubpages article view count in just over two weeks without social media promotion or even back links from my blogs. I'm impressed with the results. I'm hoping the second one follows the same pattern although I have begun promoting it. Links for both these articles are at the bottom of this post. If the subject matter is of interest to my readers, by all means click through and have a look.

I am also building files to help me work faster and more efficiently. I am uploading links for title swipe files, article templates and more. One of my biggest short comings as a freelancer is that I take way too long to write an article. If I am going to earn decent income from this, I need to produce material at a faster rate. I can do it. I think I can earn a side income that will stabilize our family finances from my writing. This should give me enough financial wiggle room to get my woodturning rolling as well.

For my readers. You should begin hearing more from me over the next month and beyond.

How to Become an Effective Paid Forum Content Writer

This article outlines my methodology for creating and making a side income as a forum content writer.


How to Get the Most Out of Self-study Courses

Basic overview of how to succeed with self-study programs. Written as a test of what I've learned so far and to see how much difference it makes in regards to view count.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Writing Reboot

A lot has changed over the last several months, especially in regards to my writing. New to me equipment and new priorities.

Biggest and most painful change was shelving Pico's Cycling for the foreseeable future. I have every intention of bringing it back when circumstances change and allow it. In the meantime I will continue learning things that will make it better and more successful when the time comes.

My focus right now is on three things. The first is learning to be a better writer with an eye to turning whatever skill and talent I might have into a useful income. I'm not aiming at wealth but to try to stabilize our financial ship. We're scraping by but there are storm clouds on the horizon that worry me. I'd like to have a little bit more control over it. I am studying online material to help me out there. I've signed up for several freelancing sites and have done quite a bit of testing to qualify for better potential assignments.

Second area of focus is improving and writing on my own blog sites, including my Hubpages account and WDC. I can apply lessons I've learned and see what happens when I promote them. I don't have to worry about the monthly magazine format or deadlines. I may write some cycling articles that would likely be saved for a future issue of Pico's Cycling but I can temporarily run them on a different platform. Overall the intention is to produce more work rather than less.

Last but no least is my novel writing endeavors. I have to complete novel rough drafts to work with. Part of my time will be spent revising and editing them. I'm hoping to have at least one ready for my publisher to consider before the end of the year. Not sure how fast I can get the work done but as far as I'm concerned it can't happen fast enough.

I have some new hardware at my fingertips. My kids have passed down a more powerful laptop into my care. Francine also gifted me a keyboard for my tablet. This entry is written entirely on that sitting at Mc Donald's while I'm stuck waiting for the twins to finish work. When I finish I will email it to myself so I can put it on my blog when I get home. Putting it directly on the blog is still beyond my skill set. I like to check it over and add at least one picture and for now that only works on my laptop

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Advancing Pico's Cycling to a New Level

Been putting consistent effort into building this website into something more. I've actually been surprised at how much the readership has increased this month. Out of the first six months of the year we've broken our page view record four times. The final count isn't in yet for this month but we will almost without a doubt top 2000 page views for the first time in our history. We are already in record territory with six days to go.

One of the driving forces is adding links to all our old stories and articles at the bottom of the page. Most days I ad links to one article and then re-promote it in a few appropriate places on Facebook and also on Twitter. I do this for the balance of the month after promoting the month's latest issue. The result has been that I have steady traffic during the part of the month where it used to always fall off significantly. The whole campaign will take me about four months to complete.

One other thing that I have done that will slowly bear fruit in the future, is adding this site to a number of blog directories. I'm not sure how much effect that will have but I'm hopeful. Another was to do some much needed housekeeping on my Twitter account. Over the last few months I've been busy deleting deadwood. People who I was following who had no interest in following me back and had no other reason for me to continue following. That allowed me to go back and follow everyone who was following me but the Twitter cap was preventing me from following back. That work was all completed today. Twitter can be a powerful tool and I'm now in a position to take better advantage of it.

This month also marks the beginning of a campaign to get direct paying advertising on the website. I took a great deal of time analysing the data I get from my Adsense account. I'm not unhappy with them and don't plan to abandon the program. I just believe that by cutting out the middleman and getting ad content more directly related to what Pico's Cycling is all about that would interest my readership, we would get an income that would give us the ability to invest in our writers. Quality content from a greater variety of sources would immediately up our game. Not having to write the bulk of the content myself would allow me to spend more time on making improvements.

With the Adsense and Google Blogger data, I set about finding out what our ad space was worth. Once I understood what I could fairly charge advertisers, I studied ad placement and standard ad sizes. From that I determined a price list for our available ad space. If all our ad space sold out each month, we would be bringing in $28 per month from advertising. Which pleases me immensely because I am aiming at consistently bring in $25 per month and at that point paying five dollars per article or story with pictures. I don't expect that to happen overnight. A smaller income would provide funds for business cards and stuff like that to further promote the site. Better yet, as our readership grows so does the value of our ad space. I firmly believe that the goals I have for this site are reasonable and doable. I'm excited.

June has shaped up to be a terrific month for the webzine. The future looks bright. I'm curious as to how far this momentum will take us.

Additional Links (Please click either the photo of the title for access)

Attention Advertisers

This is a new page added to Pico'c Cycling to help advertisers. It gives basic information about our readership, what we offer and how to proceed if they want to advertise with us.

Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road

Published for more than a year and a half now. If you're into cycling as transportation, commuting or touring, come and check us out for stories, tips and inspiration.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Whew! We're Mobile Friendly

Google and I have a love/hate relationship. Not long ago a warning came up on my Adsense dashboard advising me that mobile friendliness would be made a factor in our Google ranking. Arrgh! Like I would view that as good news.

I used to do customer service for a major cell phone company in a call centre. This has caused me to have a severe aversion to cell phones and smart phones. I have witnessed first hand the financial damage one can do to oneself with one of those. Way back when I owned a cell phone and it was not a good experience. Finally I love cycling and someone illegally operating one of those @#&% things could end my life. Not good news at all.

I check the dashboard regularly hoping that someone will go on a buying spree that benefits me. Every time I go in though I see that message and the button with a link where I can have my site tested. I was afraid to check. There are only so many hours in a day and my online writing time has limits. What kind of convoluted techno hoops do I have to go through to make my sites "mobile friendly". I don't have time to redo everything and that of course is my fear.

About an hour ago I decided to bite the bullet. I clicked the button, entered the URL to Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road averted my eyes for a few moments, grimaced and then looked. It came back with "Awesome, this page is mobile friendly." I guess everything is just peachy. I didn't have to do anything.

Go ahead click the button!

More From Pico (All photos and titles in this section are clickable links)

Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road

Free online monthly cycling magazine. Read in more than forty countries every single issue. Come have a look for tips, stories and inspiration.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

New Record for May

I predicted that in May Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road would break its one month readership record. We'll the Blogger month ends in a few minutes and I will be able to tell you the final tally before I finish writing this post.

Friday morning when I got up to start my day we were just seven page views short of February's record of 1541. I confidently tweeted that the record was going to fall that day. At noon I checked again and we were still four short. That was not what I expected to see. After three o'clock I checked again and we were still three short. For crying out loud it was teasing me. I went outside and took Wesley for a walk. A watched pot never boils and I had no intention of torturing myself. While we were out walking, Francine and the gang arrived home with the groceries, we helped bring everything in. Finished with that I decided to take another quick peak. Boom - we were already forty-five views into new territory. Part of me was starting to worry it would all stall right there.

The new record is 1874 page views. A new month has begun and hopefully we will continue to show consistent growth.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Lesson Learned and Other Schtuff

The past couple weeks have taught me one thing that is encouraging about promoting my own writing. The articles listed at the end of each post like I'm doing today do make a difference. A percentage of my readers will click the links and keep reading. On my Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road site I see regular referrals coming from my site here. That means that I will be adding that to everything from here on out. I will try to keep it related to the subject at hand but this is my site so I can advertise whatever I feel like.

Picture above is from my wife Francine's artwork. Why on earth would I use that on my author's blog is quite simple. She works hard at painting pictures while I work hard at writing. Both of us would like to see additional income from those sources. Those article ads at the bottom could include things like links to her website. I've always wanted to be able to do articles to promote the efforts of some of my friends and family members. With the blogs I have, I have the platforms to do exactly that if I have the time. Several family members and friends are artists. I also have a lot of writer friends. I just my write something to promote them.

This is one of the big advantages of running your own site as opposed to writing on hosted platforms like Hubpages and others. I will continue to write for them but if I have something that doesn't fit. No problem.

Anyway, I had a rough week financially and it has been draining. After all that we have a new vehicle and I hope I'm still coherent.

More From Pico and Friends

The Three Towers of Evil

This was originally written on Bubblews as a serial. I thought it was good enough to post over to Hubpages once I'd recovered all the posts from Bubblews. The greatest thing here is that you won't have to go searching for all the pieces of the story. It has not been promoted on this platform previously.

Francine's Art

To the left is Francine's latest completed work. She is working on another painting which I think is going to be her best to date. She has been registered on this site for quite some time. Pictures can be ordered as prints, greeting cards and even pillow cases. She is willing to part with some of the originals but not through this site.

Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road

Our May issue is poised to be a record breaking month. We are on pace to set a monthly readership record. It is a great issue. For the first time it looks like we'll have all five articles top one hundred individual views. Go on and have a look. If you enjoy cycling, you'll love reading our stories and browsing our content.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Pico's Cycling Top Five Articles of 2014

I wrote a post highlighting our top five posts all time recently and I thought I'd follow it up with a post highlighting the top five posts from last year. Won't doing a similar post for awhile because there were only five articles in 2013 and that would be pointless.

I actually had to go and research this because I didn't know what the top articles were outside of the top two for last year and they weren't in the order I expected. Interesting to note is that outside of the first two these have very ordinary readership numbers when you compare them to this year. Just a sign of how much we have grown since last year.

Without further ado. Here they are from the top:

Our most popular article was this reprint from Nancy Sathre-Vogel. A great article. We no longer do reprints because Google punishes the site's ranking for that. Kind of a bummer because there were several others that would have been appropriate. Hopefully someday she'll have time to write an original article for us.

Jack Hawkin's interview with Iohan was a very close second in page views. This year we've featured Iohan in two other articles. They have both done exceptionally well. No surprise if you take the time to watch one of his trip videos. I personally really enjoyed watching them and look forward to his future adventures.

At least something I wrote ranked as high as number three for the year. This article shows in unflattering glory how I dress for different kinds of cycling weather, from rain to snow. My motto is: All season, all weather, all the time. Since riding like this and writing about it, I have seen someone else who dresses up almost exactly like me riding in Moncton. Whoo hoo! I'm a trend setter.

Fourth and fifth place were tied. This is the story or a group tour I planned and led as a tune up for something bigger and better. One of the more successful tours I've participated in. Touring stories are intended to be the lifeblood of this publication.

Last but not least is an article describing how I turned my very ordinary bicycle into an all weather commuting bike. This is the bike that took me to work and anywhere else I needed to go no matter what the weather was like. The bike still exists. Needs a little work but it will be doing my trips this riding season.

If you enjoyed these articles, be sure to like our Facebook Page or following @Picoscycling on Twitter. That way you'll get notifications for everything we publish and won't risk missing any. Happy cycling.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Old Writing

Been working slowly but surely over the past couple weeks closing up shop over at Bubblews. My balance is over thirty five dollars over there but I seriously doubt I'll ever make up the between fourteen and fifteen dollars needed to hit the redemption amount. I don't think they'll ever lower that number because too many people like me will just take the money and run. There's no advantage to them to do that. My intention is to harvest everything of value and then abandon the account.

I had written in excess of five hundred posts there. I am slowly deleting them one by one. It is taking longer than I expected because there is more of value there than I thought. I expected to pull maybe a dozen or so posts that could be worked into articles out of the junk pile. Under estimated myself. As I go through them I'm finding that about fifteen percent is worth keeping. It might end up being even higher than that. The material will reappear on my blogs or on Hubpages. 

This is one of the reasons I established the Pico's Writing Practice blog. A lot of my writing practice does deserve to be forgotten but there is a surprising amount of usable material produced. Once I've moved a few things off my plate I expect to be more active on that blog. I should be producing work daily and while I do pretty well considering my schedule and time constraints, I want to do better consistently.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Pico's Cycling All Time Top Five Articles

We have grown so fast at the beginning of this year that all five most popular articles are from the current year. Jack Hawkins my fellow cycling writer usually does well and claims the top spot overall but the other four are all written by yours truly.

1) I Want to See the World is a story from Iohan Gueorguiev who is riding from north of the arctic circle to Argentina. This covers the first leg of his adventure. Included in the article is a link to Iohan's youtube video. He records himself with a selfie stick and narrates as he goes. I'm impressed with the steadiness of the pictures. The quality is outstanding. The trip itself is incredible.

2) It Begins is the first instalment of my own solo long distance self contained cycling adventure. The story is continued in successive issues of the webzine but none of them have attained to the popularity of the beginning.

3) Choosing a Touring Tent surprised me. I honestly didn't expect this very basic article to get this much attention. Evidently there are a lot of people looking for a little advice on getting this type of equipment.

4) Cycling in Bear Country I think is a very useful practical article and again was surprised at the amount of interest. Whether people are just curious or really would like to know about cycling in that kind of environment is not something I can answer.

5) Family Versus the Dog Kind rounds out my current top five. I expected this one to do well because I haven't met too many cyclists that have not had a run in with some other man's best friend. Sometimes I can actually predict what people will read. Most of the time though I can't.

I'm hoping to have continued success and maybe even see some of these supplanted in the future. At some point I may write a post listing our top five from 2014. Maybe before the end of the month. We'll see how my time goes.

The title of each article in the list here is a link to the article itself. If you haven't read them yet, that what they're published for - enjoy.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

My Daughter Wins a Writing Contest

I don't usually write more than one post a day in my author's Blog but dad has to boast. Last month my daughter Mieke entered two writing contests on www.writing.com. She recently found out that her entry for "Boy Have I Got a Story for You" was awarded first place. She was surprised because she wasn't expecting this story to have what it would take.

Here is a link to her winning entry A Dragon's Princess.

Mieke is regularly entering contests on that site. She usually does very well. The points she wins keeps her subscription there current. I love the site myself. It is where I got the feedback I needed to get my first story ready for a publishers eyes. It's also where I met Kitty Sutton who introduced me to Inknbeans Press. 

Mieke's primary writing focus is on novel length fantasy. The short story contests are exercises to improve her writing

Advertising Fail

I've been reading an eBook on writing called "Write Good or Die" that I downloaded during a free promotion. It is a series of articles on writing. Most of the information is very useful, which is why I have not been racing through it. Some things I want to apply as I go.

One article really caught my attention because I was blowing it at a very basic level. Now that the problem is pointed out, I've had one of those face palm moments. When someone asks you what your book is about, you should have a short concise answer ready for them right there. Like most new writers, I didn't have an answer. I'd hem and haw. I'd say it was hard to explain or describe. I didn't want to come off like a salesperson trying to convince them to buy the book. Don't get me wrong, I think I wrote a good book worthy of reading but my approach or lack of approach didn't sound like it.

As a writer, I now understand that every time I don't answer that question directly, succinctly, positively, I've lost a potential reader. The article suggests one sentence. I've got mine down to two and it works. One of the ladies at work asked me what it was about. I answered with my prepared reply and she responded "I would like to read that book. That's the type of book I like to read." Bravo! Took me awhile to get that one right.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is about a man seeking justice and revenge. He is the worst nightmare for a dirty cop and crime lord but he needs a reason to live beyond his vengeance. I usually end up elaborating more but having a real answer has been effective.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Novel Reading Bailout

I actually gave up on an indie ebook I'd downloaded, consciously deciding not to finish reading it. This was a case of a gifted writer needing to learn a few things about storytelling. I won't name the author or the book. I have no desire to pen a smear but I will state, in a general way, what I think is wrong with the book to the point I read, because there are lessons an aspiring novelist should be aware of. I will not be sending this information to the author in question privately because I was not asked to review the book. I like to be helpful but ripping someone's book even privately without invitation can create enemies. I've met writers like the one I was reading that are very touchy. Very talented but unwilling to listen. I won't take that risk.

So where was the problem. I found the opening chapter to be superbly written, but it should have ended up on the cutting room floor. Pieces of it could have been used to good effect as back story, but it shouldn't have been the opening chapter of the story. 

My reasons for feeling that way have to do with how one tells a story. At the basic level a story needs a beginning, middle and end. The first two chapters read like a false beginning. It starts out as a crime novel. The hero loses his partner in a stakeout/drug raid gone wrong. If you got past the clicheness, it was well done. As a reader I wanted to know how the bad guys foiled the cops. In chapter two, our hero with the help of his unwanted new partner, take down the bad guys. The way it went down was totally unbelievable and none of my questions from chapter one were answered. It all just got swept aside. The next step in the story sends our two cops clear across the continent, where they get swept up in some kind of time vortex, that deposits them in the eighteen hundreds. There was no foreshadowing no continuity. It was random to the point of again being unbelievable. That's when I decided to close the book.

In my opinion as a storyteller, you have to introduce, not only some of the characters, but the story itself in the first chapter. It's painful to cut a great first chapter. Had to do it with my first published novel. If it isn't introducing the story, it's gotta go. I don't think mixing genres is bad. I don't think a couple of time travelling police investigators is a bad storyline. This just wasn't the way to do it.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Boosting My Hubpages

My writing has gotten several boosts from my new writing websites. Some of it not entirely expected. There was one benefit I was expecting. I can farm my writing practice site for stories that go together. Once I have enough of them I can group them together for a Hubpages article. Once they've worn out there welcome there, I can still pull them back and someday use them somewhere else.

I did an article called Conversations With Customer Service. It was quite successful. Several writers over there thought a sequel would be a good idea. Well I have enough potential stories to do just that. One of them I was able to retrieve from Bubblews. There was a time when nothing could be removed from that site without losing the money that the post had earned. It may be possible to retrieve some other things from there as well. Another story was already written on Pico's Writing Practice. Inspiration has come since then and now there are enough to make that sequel. Three written and three to write. Hope it will eventually earn enough over there to make payout.

The surprise came from my other writing efforts. Pico's Book Reviews. I post links to all my writing on social networking sites. To my surprise I got a response from one of the authors on Twitter and have been dropping a few lines of conversation back and forth ever since. A little bit of encouragement one writer to another.

Not making much from my writing right now but I keep plugging away. There are signs that things are improving and moving forward.

Monday, 19 January 2015

New Personal Writing Platforms

The two new projected websites have been created. They are just there in basic form. I will continue to improve them. Posting as already begun.

First site is just writing practice. Basically I have fun like I did on Bubblews. Main difference is I make the rules so I don't have to worry about adding links to my own material elsewhere. For example, if I'm babbling on about my cycling webzine. I will add a link. No one is going to punish me for it. The URL is http://picoswriting.blogspot.ca.

Second site is for book reviews. I read what I feel like. I find I read a lot of historical fiction and books from friends. If that interests you by all means pay me a visit there. I have roughly twenty reviews and will write more. I will only post one per day until they are all there. That way I can promote the material without spamming everyone to death. The URL for this site is http://picosbookreviews.blogspot.ca. Each review will include an Amazon link to buy it if you are so inclined.

If I'm writing about writing it is still going to be published on this site. If it has to do with cycling it will go on Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road.

If you are inclined to keep up with any of my writing please either follow the blog directly or follow my author's page on Facebook Pico Triano. My Webzine Facebook page is Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road. I also have a couple Twitter accounts to promote my work @PicoTriano and @PicosCycling.

Hopefully this doesn't confuse everyone. I'm not used to writing anything with this many links.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Getting Ready For Something New

During our forced Internet vacation, I started reading more books again. I wrote book reviews to go with the ones that I read. Today I went back to my old Blog located all the book reviews that I did in the past. I saved them all to my computer and deleted them so that Google won't penalize me for repeating material.

Since at current count there are nineteen of them, I thought it would be useful to create a separate review Blog. This way anyone interested can come an see what I read and what I thought of those books. If interested there will be Amazon links so that readers can purchase those books if they feel moved to do so. I have no plans to become an important book reviewer. I just read what I feel like or have available at the time. I will have times that I have to wait for my kids to finish their shift at work. This will make good use of that time.

The Blog is already created but there is nothing to see except my mug telling you it's under construction. The address is http://picosbookreviews.blogspot.com

It is supposed to run as a companion to this site. Links back and forth will be put on both sites. I set it up separately though because it will be easier for me to keep it organized. At some point I will have to classify the reviews by genre. If I leave everything here, it will become a mess.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Time To Reboot

We have been knocked off line for a little over a month. This has thrown a monkey wrench into a lot of the online work I was doing at the time. It is going to take me probably the better part of the next week to regroup. The technicians got us back up and running late yesterday.

Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road got published on time anyway. Being able to view how it all uploaded here on my home system is not giving me any happy thoughts. I have to redivide up paragraphs and finally attach the intended accompanying photos. Not being able to promote has really screwed with my readership numbers. In short, I'm very frustrated but it will all get fixed.

During the past month we discovered a file containing five pictures I created a long time ago. The one above is pencil crayon on regular drawing paper. It was done when I was quite a bit younger. I'm delighted to have found them and we make use of them. Probably make them available in my Zazzle shops if nothing else.

I've had a lot of ideas during the past month. Trick right now is to figure out how to implement them. One item is to add a section of book reviews I have done along with links to Amazon where I have an affiliate account. That way people interested can purchase any of the books reviewed. I just haven't decided how best to present that on this blog.

At the time the Internet went down my daughter and I were working to put together a novel review group on WDC that would only cost participation. In other words, you help other writers by doing chapter reviews and they help you. We had mostly figured it all out. We hope to implement that in the next week.

I have worked on quite a bit of material in the meantime. So once I'm rolling online again, I should be able to consistently get quite a lot done.