What Do You Really Want?

As you all know by now, I love my dogs. Sammi is our 6-year-old golden retriever and besides being unusually shy, she is pretty typical for her breed… mischievous, and adorable. And like most goldens, she loves toys… of the stuffed variety.

She especially likes to grab one when she is about to greet someone, a peace offering.

When we go on walks she leaves her toys at home. There are lots of scents, other people and dogs, trees, and other things to keep her occupied. Yesterday we went for a walk on the trail behind our house and we saw that someone had put a mitten on top of a metal post that was in the field adjacent to the trail.

 

Sammi saw it, too. She thought it was a toy. She made numerous attempts to get it off the metal post but couldn’t quite get the job done. Then she saw something else and lost interest. In the end, it wasn’t something she really wanted… it was just a distraction.

Another life lesson from my dog, or just a mitten? Just a thought…

 

 

Happy New Year

Welcome, 2021. It’s been an interesting year. I’m usually a pretty upbeat person, but 2020 was a tough one. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the news and hear more positive and a little less negative?

I, for one, am happy to say goodbye to the past 12 months. GOODBYE.

I’m not much for resolutions, but this year, I would definitely like to travel more. As a writer, I rely on travel, seeing new places, and meeting new people as a way to gain a new perspective, which helps with my process.

Where would I like to go? Italy is way up there. And although I may travel by plane sometime this year, I’m not sure Europe is on the agenda for this year. Tuscany is calling my name, but I remain cautious when it comes to infectious disease.

Another place on the top of my list is Kauai, Hawaii. I got married there almost 15 years ago and it is (and I don’t use this word often) magical. It happens as soon as I step off the plane – the feeling of calm washes over me. It doesn’t hurt when you’re met with friendly islanders offering leis. But, again, that’s a long flight… I’m not quite ready for that yet.

A road trip is definitely in my near future, though. This winter, my wife, Kim, and I will probably go to one of our new favorite destinations, Sedona, AZ. From Castle Rock, CO, it’s about 11 hours. Sedona is perfect between 40 and 60 degrees in the winter. The sun is usually shining and there are a ton of hiking trails.

Traveling will be a little easier this year because we found the perfect dog sitter, who will stay with them most of the time. Yes, I admit, our 3 dogs are spoiled. Kim and I both work from home and besides writing, my life pretty much centers around them. It’s all good, as the rewards far outweigh the responsibility.

 

 

Happy Trails, Mark

 

Inspiration

Hi Everybody,
First off, I’m sorry that I haven’t written a post in a while. A lot has happened…. A pandemic, racial unrest, an uncertain economy, and a new election. Through all of it, I’ve still been writing, kicking out a book every 3 to 4 months. My wife, Kim, lost her job after COVID hit and is now doing the marketing for my books.

Even though it’s approaching the middle of November, I kind of feel like it’s the beginning of a new year. And, I, for one, would like to do better, to become more connected to my followers, and utilize the tools that are at my disposal.

So,  I will be posting regularly now… once a month. Which makes this first post is a declaration of sorts. Please feel free to hold me accountable.-)

 

 

This month’s topic: INSPIRATION

First of all, I’d like to share a problem I have…. insomnia. I have a hard time sleeping sometimes. I’m up reading (listening, actually, to audiobooks) late into the night. And then I’m up at 2 am. My mind is reeling with ideas, stresses from the day, or… just reeling. I do look at this as a curse sometimes, but other times, it’s in these sleepless moments that I get inspired.

I recently saw a Netflix mini-series, Queen’s Gambit (based on a novel by Walter Tevis). The protagonist, Beth Harmon, lives in an orphanage after she loses her parents. During her time there, she discovers chess. At night, unable to sleep, she’d lie in bed and stare out at the ceiling, imagining over-sized chess pieces moving in various scenarios. Her passion and curiosity about the game became so much of her life that it became a part of her.

I could relate to this. Some of my books come more easily to me than others. With some (Ship Wrecked: Stranded on an Alien World and The Simpleton), I got clear messages. I’m a visual person, I see the story play out in front of me like a movie. And when the message begins to fade away, I grab my iPhone and feverishly begin to make notes.

I also get inspired when I’m immersed in water…. My jacuzzi or bathtub. I recently got a giant clawfoot bathtub, and when the blizzards start here in Colorado, my outdoor jacuzzi is retired for a couple of months. I find this practice especially helpful when I’m experiencing writer’s block.

My wife, Kim, helps with inspired ideas, as well. I love the back and forth of bouncing ideas with friends and family. They may come up with something that isn’t quite right, but that leads me down a way of thinking that can result in pure gold.

Being a visual person, it is very important for me to get out of town. I spend a lot of time at home, here in Colorado. This is especially true, since the pandemic. So, recently, we take road trips. Even after living in the state for over 10 years, there are many little out-of-the-way places we haven’t discovered. The last place we visited was Manitou Springs, Colorado, near Colorado Springs. The town’s 19th-century Victorian frame houses and businesses against the mountain setting was unexpectedly interesting.

Movies are a source of inspiration for me, as well. Sometimes it’s the photography or a certain villain who is strangely likeable or it’s a situation that arises that is completely different than anything I’ve seen. It could also be a reaction or a setting or the way a character carries himself. It takes me being engaged for it to happen. If I’m paying attention and open, I’ll find it.

I have 3 dogs, and they provide me a certain kind of inspiration, as well. Rika is 16, a Chow/German Shepherd mix, and Lilly (2) & Sammi (6), Golden Retrievers. Don’t tell the others, but Sammi is my dog. She’s super-mellow and incredibly sweet. She offers little expression on a normal basis, but when we take her to our favorite dog park, she lights up. Sammi especially loves climbing the up-and-down bridge. Her expression and energy level visibly change. It creates a shift in me, too. Sammi is the inspiration for a book I’m working on now, tentatively called Cob.

 

Inspiration can come in different ways for me, from in-your-face to subtle. My challenge is to stay open and let it happen. I feel incredibly blessed to make a living as a writer. I acknowledge the responsibility that comes with it… to not go on autopilot and crank out formulaic stories. I am grateful for my fans, and I owe it to them to pass on the best I have to offer.

Till next time… Mark Wayne McGinnis

MWM’s Fav Book

I get asked this ALL THE TIME . . . What is my favorite book, out of all the MWM books I’ve written? It’s a tuff question to answer. I like all my books for different reasons.
But, for the sheer fun factor, I guess it would have to be the mostly unread, undiscovered, Lone Star Renegades. A group of high school kids get abducted when Earth is invaded by aliens. But this is no YA book – the gang can curse and swear (like real high schoolers), there’s relentless bullying, and there’s irreverent attitudes towards adults. And somehow, the real badass of the group ends up being the one who was the biggest nerd back home.

The ebook can be found here: Lone Star Renegades Ebook

The Audiobook can be found here: Lone Star Renegades Audiobook

Let me know if you agree – and which MWM book is your Fav?!

That idea…

It comes before the floodwaters—before the floodgates are crested and toppled.  Its start is insignificant, like a trickle of water that grows in volume and breadth, cautiously making its way into a dry and barren desert. Obstacles: Rocks, unforeseen elevations, skeletal remains … This is the start—the emergence, the burgeoning of a great idea. The genesis of your next, unstoppable, manuscript.

mwm

The Germination of a New Book Idea – Mark Wayne McGinnis

As a Sci-Fi writer, I’ve lately found it uniquely satisfying to write about my present hometown—Castle Rock, Colorado. When I first contemplated on penning a story that would take place in this small rural town where I live, my main motivation was the time and energy it would save me from having to research out some other more distant location. For instance, my supernatural spy novel, Mad Powers, primarily took place in Washington, DC. I’d spent a week there, along with my wife, scouting out the not so typical historical locations that could be used within the story. It was fun, but also very time-consuming. And added research that accompanied the trip continued on for weeks after. Anyway, back to my latest novel, “The Hidden Ship.” The idea for the story, which is your basic invasion from interstellar aliens, with malintent purpose—a planetary takeover viewed from a small-town perspective—actually came to me while having breakfast at a small greasy spoon right here in town. The B and B restaurant, a building well over one hundred years old, has a colorful history all its own. At one time the town jail was located across the street and prisoners were regularly shuffled over for meals. In an unrelated incident, a local lawman discharged his sidearm in the course of his duties. The bullet hole in the ceiling still remains unpatched. As I took in the creaky oak flooring, the cracked marble countertop, and the tinny bell that sounded every time a new patron entered, I contemplated on how a scene in my next book could play out: How normal everything would appear on the face of things. Platefuls of huevos rancheros, or oversized stacks of buttermilk pancakes, would be served onto scuffed and marred tabletops. How seated locals would welcome the arrival of friends and neighbors, now sitting at nearby tables, until three of ‘them’ arrived. The tinkling little bell over the door pulled everyone’s attention toward the trio of Earupitan marshals now entering. Seven-foot tall, each wore cowboy garb more appropriately seen on the set of an early 1960’s TV western—perhaps like the Lone Ranger, or Roy Rogers. Three aliens that tried way too hard, attempting to assimilate into this small, mostly rancher, community. And that was it. I was off and running. In my imagination, I started to play the ‘what if’ game. What if a local rebellion group was seated at a table when the three alien marshals arrived? Taking the storyline a step further, what if there were also human conspirators—modern-day Benedict Arnolds—in town as well? And then the thought came to me, what if my story’s chief protagonist had a secret? Something dangerous in his possession that no one else had—a small spacecraft hidden in his barn.

The best stories, at least for me, start out as rough concepts. Then I let them visually play out in my mind. I actually see the scene—like frames of a film streaming forth in my imagination. But it doesn’t stop there. I stay conscious of my own reaction to what I am seeing as if I were seated in a theater watching the movie unfold. And I take note too of the reactions of those seated around me. They are my readers—the ones that count most. The folks that will buy my book and, hopefully, enjoy the words I scribe, which eventually end up printed in paperback, e-reader, or audiobook.