Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

And Then There Were Four

Five Cats To Four…

One of our new additions from three days ago had to return to the rescue shelter. It seems that little Cloe (They called her Killer.) had a pretty solid hatred for other cats. (The shelter folks would have had no way of knowing that.) She was a sweetheart, sat on our laps, but growled at any other cat and then after two days started attacking the other two cats.

Oh, oh. Since we have the two old boys upstairs that she hadn’t met yet, it was only going to get worse, so we checked around with a few friends who didn’t have a cat and then I bundled her into a carrier and took her back to the shelter. They now have it in her file she needs to be a solo cat and we have no doubt she find a new home quickly. She really is a love. (Write me if in the Portland area and I will give you the phone number for the shelter in Newberg if you are interested in a wonderful solo cat.)

So the remaining two new arrivals are Susy-Grace, the tiny Maine Coon.

And Gavin, the crazy fun orange kitten.

Cat are going to be fine now.

Dumpster Diving

My long-gone friend Bill Trojan and I called the Goodwill Outlet store in Salem dumpster diving. That’s right, when something doesn’t sell in Goodwill in this area, it goes to an outlet store and they just dump everything in groups in these huge ten-foot-long plastic carts about five feet wide and three feet deep. The bins sort of look like massive open dumpsters.

And you have to dig through them like you are dumpster diving. Not kidding.

But since they sell most stuff by the pound, a lot of people clothe their families there as well as resellers and pickers like me getting stuff cheap. The bins are only on the floor for about five hours, constantly being changed out and what doesn’t sell gets recycled.

So instead of fighting my way back through traffic to Lincoln City, I cut across the valley and went over to Salem and for the first time since Bill died, I found myself in the Goodwill Outlet. Six monster bins of books and magazines. I got first edition Stephen King hardbacks. (Hardbacks sold for $2 each, paperbacks for $1 each, and magazines 10 cents each.) I got about 50 1930s National Geographics that we can pull ads from and make good money selling the ads, especially the Coke ads on the back covers.

I got about 200 Disney VHS tapes (sold at 49 cents per pound), sixty or so DVD movies at $2 each, and so on. A massive shopping cart full. All stuff we can easily resell in our stores in Lincoln City.

And I had a blast. Picking and collecting is something that I would do for a living if I hadn’t become a writer.


Specials Going Away and Offers Ending on June 1st.

STRENGTHS SPECIALS… Just Four More Days… The workshops will still be there for those signed up, but the specials included with them will vanish. Right now if you get three of them, the fourth one is free. That offer will end on June 1st. And right now if you take all six for the price of five, you get a free online workshop as well. That will end as well on June 1st. Write me for more information or check under the Strengths tab above.

SPECIAL LECTURE SUBSCRIPTION PRICES… Those will all end on June 1st. Just Four More Days… All the lectures will remain active, of course, but the special subscription price will go away.

NOVEL CHALLENGE… I had one more brave soul sign up to write three novels in three months and one person, due to family issues, had to drop out. So still two spots left if anyone interested. Starts June 1st and will close at that point.

June 1st is next Thursday, just four days away, for those of you like me who tend to lose track of time. (grin)



All have openings at the moment. Information at

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #51… June 6th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #52… June 6th … Point of View
Class #53… June 6th … Writing Mysteries
Class #54… June 6th … Speed
Class #55… June 6th … Teams in Fiction
Class #56… June 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… June 7th … Expectations (Writing on the Rails)
Class #58… June 7th … Character Development
Class #59… June 7th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #60… June 7th … Advanced Depth

Tracking Running… May 27th, 2017
4 miles. (no miles running.)
Weight 193. (Goal 170)
Month to date distance: 116.5 miles

Tracking Word Counts… May 27th, 2017
Totals For Year 4, Month 10, Day 27 (Year started August)
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,346

— Daily Fiction: 2,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 20,800 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 2,200 words 
— Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 14,400 words
— E-mail: 13 e-mails.  Approx. 900 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 638 e-mails. Approx. 40,100 words
— Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories to date: 38 stories.
— Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 5 novels.


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  • Fred Aiken


    you sre indeed a fountain of knowledge o a lot of things. I enjoy reading your daily posts to see what pearls of knowledge I can find. So when you mentioned buying old magazines for the adds you could sell aroused my curiosity. As a pack rat of long standing, I never considered that people would collect print advertisements. Would you consider blogging more on this subject in a future post?

    • dwsmith

      Yup, in fact I was talking yesterday with an owner of an antique mall in Sherwood, OR and he had vast shelves of print ads. He sells them regularly. We will be taking ads from old newspapers as well as the Sunday Comics that sell amazingly well. Old car ads, Coca-Cola ads, Pepsi-cola ads, train ads, and on and on. Vast market for old paper ads. But they have to be old and in great shape. 1950s and back for the most part.

  • Shawna Canon

    Are you sure Susy is a Maine Coon? I thought those were unusually large cats. Susy actually looks a lot like one of my cats, and mine has always been petite, usually around 8 or 8.5 pounds (and she doesn’t mind being given baths, which I suspect may be a breed trait). I’ve seen other petite cats on the internet that look just like her (different colors) as well. They’re absolutely beautiful cats, though. And so small that when she lays on you, you hardly even notice.

    Oh man, I remember going to that Goodwill once. It was an unusual shopping experience. (I needed random computer junk for theater props, and I did not leave empty-handed.)

    • dwsmith

      We are pretty convinced she is a Maine Coon mix, otherwise known as a domestic longhair. (grin) She has the face and markings of a Maine Coon, but not the size and legs.

      • Shawna Canon

        You’ve inspired me to look into this more. On a Maine Coon page it says “they are big cats!” then goes on to say that females usually weigh 9-12 pounds. Which seems pretty small to me. Maybe my perceptions of what a ‘big’ cat is are not in line with the way real cat fanciers describe them. How interesting.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Sorry to hear you had to give up on Killer. Good thing is her next home will be much better knowing in advance she needs to be alone. in the end you still contributed greatly to a brighter future for her.

  • James F. Brown

    “I got about 200 Disney VHS tapes (sold at 49 cents per pound), sixty or so DVD movies at $2 each, and so on. A massive shopping cart full. All stuff we can easily resell in our stores in Lincoln City.

    And I had a blast. Picking and collecting is something that I would do for a living if I hadn’t become a writer.”

    Be careful, Dean. Be very careful. I think you could easily cross the line into becoming a hoarder!

    • dwsmith

      Nope, I buy only to resell. And I have two large stores. I had to clean out my best friend Bill’s house and apartment. He couldn’t live in the three bedroom because it was full, completely, floor to ceiling, with only a trail, so he got a two bedroom apartment and filled that as well. That’s hoarding. He couldn’t sell any of it, or much of it. And he kept every piece of paper and wrapped and old bags and things like that as well. A real sickness, of that there was no doubt.

      For me, I’m a picker. I love the chase, the find, and the resell. If I can’t resell it fairly quickly for 4 to 100 times what I bought it for, I won’t buy it. I’m even selling marbles, the one thing I do collect besides vintage paperbacks.