Another Family Blessing


I realize I'm a bit late with this. I haven't been on my blog site for several weeks. On September 1st, we had another wonderful blessing. Xander Stoddard was born to my beautiful daughter, Kristen and her husband Nate. We are excited with this newest addition. Isn't he cute?

... and so is Mama!

Welcome to our family Xander

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Friday, October 14, 2011

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I was just looking at some pictures I have of Port Costa and Crockett taken back in the 1960s and 1950s. Boy, I sure miss those days. I was only a kid, and probably didn't realize all the problems we had back then, but I can't believe they were any worse than what we're going through now. Yes, we had Nikita Kruschev threatening to bury us and threatening nuclear war, and Fidel Castro rattling his saber as a puppet of the Soviet Union. But those were external threats, things we could deal with. But today's threats are internal, Obama pretending to be a conservative while actually being a fascist, openly wishing he could be a dictator. His advisers secretly being communists and plotting the overthrow of our government.

I sat this morning looking at some pictures of a train taking on passengers at Crockett in 1956, thinking times were so much simpler in those days. No EPA, no OSHA, no frivolous law suits, and we got along just fine without them. In those days, some of us thought John Kennedy was a communist in disguise, but by today's standards he would be considered a conservative -- a Republican, or at least a blue-dog Democrat.

I can remember riding my bike along the railroad tracks between Port Costa and Crockett. I loved it when a train pulled by an articulated mallet steam engine would chug past me. I had to cover my ears it was so loud, and the ground would shake as it passed by, but the feeling of power fascinated me. I can still hear them.

Then, I would ride my bike to visit some friends, or ride past that special girl's house I had a crush on. I loved hiking in the hills, pretending to look for Black Bart's hidden loot (he was supposed to have buried it somewhere in the Port Costa hills but no one has found it yet). I miss those days. Maybe that's why I love to write. I don't know if my writing will ever sell, but I love passing my old dreams and reminiscences on to today's generation -- dreams and reminiscences of a simpler, more innocent, time.
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What is it about Socialism/Communism that liberals and progressives like? In the words of Winston Churchill:

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance,and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

Winston Churchill

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Here are some photos of the twins born last Thursday.

This one is Seth West (I don't know their middle names yet).

And this one is Simeon West
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My son's wife just gave birth to twins yesterday, Seth and Simeon. They're very small, a little over 4 pounds each. They will need to stay in the NICU for a few days, but they look healthy and well.

We are so proud of Mike and Mimi for all they went through to have these babies, and excited to have two more grandchildren. That makes nine now, 6 boys and 3 girls, with two more on the way. Wow, could you say this has been a very productive year???
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Yes, folks (all 1 or 2 of you), I'm going to start querying again. I figured out, after a lot of rejections from agents, that my #1 WIP is going nowhere. I think my critique group was being nice to me to tell me they all liked it.

After getting nowhere, I decided to let them take a second and even more critical look at it. Based on their comments I cut out the first 4 chapters. Now looking back, I don't think that hurt my novel at all, and may even helped. I was concerned, however, that a lot of the tragic events I had portrayed in Chapter 1 would be lost, as the book is based on those events. But I found a way to insert bits and pieces of that chapter in the form of flashbacks as the main character (Mark) remembers his family's tragedy.

So now, I've totally revised my #1 WIP and even gave it a new catchy title -- An Urge to Kill. Does that grab at you? I hope it grabs an agent and publisher.

I also have a better looking query letter that did garner a few positive responses before I gave up the hunt. Oh, and those positive responses all died an ugly death and were given a proper burial.

Well, here's to wishing and hoping and even praying that this next go-round works better. Not holding my breath though, but my fingers and toes are all crossed.
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My wife and I are super excited to welcome our newest granddaughter into our family. Isabella Jo West was born last evening at 9:13 p.m.. She was 7 lbs. 3 oz., and 19.5 inches.

That make our grandchildren count at 3 girls and 4 boys now, with 3 more boys on the way.

Welcome Isabella Jo!!! We already love you.
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It's time to celebrate!!!

Last evening, at 9:13 p.m., my daughter-in-law gave birth to her first daughter, Isabella Jo West. She was 7 lbs. 3 oz., and 19.5 inches.

My wife and I are super excited to have another girl in our family. This brings our grandchildren count up to 3 girls and 4 boys, with 3 more boys in the oven.

Our family is growing!!!
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I've been asked why I chose the 1960s in which to set my first novel. In answer to that question, the main reason I set it in the '60s is mostly because that's where I envision it. I've tried to bring it up to modern day but it loses a huge, dare I say "magical," something. In short, it just doesn't work for me.

Call me weird, but I love looking back into the past and dreaming up stories of what could have happened back then. And I do not like stories with vampires and ware wolves and para-normal aspects, etc. that today's youth seem to prefer to read. That doesn't mean I won't read them. I just don't want to write about them.

I loved the books of Jack London, Harper Lee, Frank Norris, John Steinbeck, and others. They were what would be described as "realistic." These authors have had a strong influence in my decision to be a writer. I prefer realism. It has more true meaning to me.
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In the past, I had agents ask for a marketing plan to accompany my query, synopsis and sample chapters. Maybe, for writers, that would be about the same as a business plan. So, I think if I were to write a business plan for my writing it would look something like this:

1. Write the novel - Done
3. Join a critique group - Done
3. edit the novel and rewrite it - Done
4. edit the novel and rewrite it - Done
5. edit the novel and rewrite it - Done
6. edit the novel and rewrite it - Done
7. Write query and synopsis and find an agent or editor - Done
8. edit the novel and rewrite it - Done
9. Revise query and synopsis and find an agent or editor - Done
10. edit the novel and rewrite it - Done ad nauseam
11. Revise query and synopsis and find an agent or editor - ad nauseam

And finally, once I find an agent or editor who is willing to publish it:

12. edit the novel and rewrite it
13. Create web site with blog
14. Create catchy trailer
15. Talk up book on web site and blog
16. Talk up book on FaceBook, Twitter, and any other social network
17. Reap the meager rewards of all that effort.

At least that's what my business plan would look at from my experience so far. I hope your experience won't be so dragged out as mine has been.

I suppose you could put dates as goals, but expect them to be shattered.

Happy Writing!!!
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