Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Novel Three: Finished


(As a reminder, the overall monthly challenge is to write four novels and gain distance every week on my step count, starting the first week at an average of 11,000 steps per day.)

Steps sucked once again today, but once again, with all the workshop stuff, no time and the steps are the one thing that is slipping some.

But got the third novel done!

Took longer than I had thought and came in, after some stupidity removal of loops, shorter than most Thunder Mountain novels. But I’ll take it.

Six days now to do the next novel.

The Day Went Like This…

Got up at 2 p.m., finally getting a full night’s sleep for the first time in three days. That helped.

I did an hour of email, then went up to the office around 4 p.m. to work there. All kinds of little stuff until around 5:30 p.m. when everyone left and I could record the last of the new Fantasy Covers Branding workshop first week and get it loaded.

Grocery shopping, then home, took a nap, and cooked dinner.

I did all the shopping and have cooked every dinner this month except the ones when we are in the valley. So those of you who think that cooking and such takes a lot of time away from writing, sorry, just shot that excuse in the foot. (grin)

Got in here right around 10 p.m. as normal and managed to get all the assignments for the workshops done by 1 a.m. once again, plus starting up the new Fantasy Branding Covers workshop.

If you are in that and didn’t get an e-mail from me, contact me at once.

Took a break and got to my writing computer at 1:30 a.m. and managed 800 words  by 2:30 a.m., took another break to watch some television with Kris.

By 4:15 a.m. I had done another 1,300 words. Short break.

Another 1,200 words to the finish and then the cutting out of loops I had found yesterday on my giant run-through of the book to focus it.

3,300 words in 3 sessions. Book done. We shall see what Kris thinks. She’s liked the first two in this challenge.


I had decided to do either another Mary Jo Assassin novel  (Allyson did the cover for me and I posted it here a ways back as a nifty example of branding) or a new Cold Poker Gang novel.

I found a nifty piece of art for the Cold Poker Gang novel and Allyson did a cool cover for it, and I like it so much, my little voice said, “Let’s write that one next!!” So Mary Jo goes to August it seems.

So for the next six days, to finish off this four books in a month challenge, I will be writing a twisted mystery set in Las Vegas. Retired detectives solving cold cases. It will be called BURN CARD: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery.

Not a clue what the book is about except the series and the cover. Should be interesting, to say the least.

I sure couldn’t make this challenge easy on myself, could I? (grin)


Novel #1…The Writing of TOMBSTONE CANYON: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 1… Words written… 6,600.  Total so far… 6,600 words.
Challenge Day 2… Words written… 6,700.  Total so far… 13,300 words.
Challenge Day 3… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 19,400 words.
Challenge Day 4… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 25,600 words.
Challenge Day 5… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far…, 31,800 words.
Challenge Day 6… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far…, 37,900 words.
Challenge Day 7… Words written… 3,200.  Final Total…, 41,100 words. (Novel count is 38,000)


Challenge Novel #2


Novel #2…The Writing of DEATH TAKES A DIAMOND: A Mary Jo Assassin Novel

 Challenge Day 8… Words written… 6,400.  Total so far… 6,400 words.
 Challenge Day 9… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 12,500 words.
 Challenge Day 10… Words written… 3,200.  Total so far… 15,700 words.
 Challenge Day 11… Words written… 2,900.  Total written so far… 18,600 words.
 Challenge Day 12… Words written… 3,100.  Total written so far… 21,700 words.
 Challenge Day 13… Words written… 6,100.  Total written so far… 27,800 words.
 Challenge Day 14… Words written… 3,300.  Total written so far… 31,100 words.
 Challenge Day 15… Words written… 6,200.  Total written so far… 37,300 words.
 Challenge Day 16… Words written… 6,500.  Final total written… 43,800 words. (Novel is no where near that long and might get shorter still after Kris reads it.)


Challenge Novel #3


Novel #3…The Writing of DRY CREEK CROSSING: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 17… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 3,100 words.
 Challenge Day 18… Words written… 3,400.  Total so far… 6,500 words.
 Challenge Day 19… Words written… 2,900.  Total so far… 9,400 words.
 Challenge Day 20… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 15,600 words.
 Challenge Day 21… Words written… 6,300.  Total so far… 21,900 words.
 Challenge Day 22… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 28,000 words.
 Challenge Day 23… Words written… 6,000.  Total so far… 34,000 words.
 Challenge Day 24… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 37,100 words.
 Challenge Day 25… Words written… 3,300.  Final total writer… 40,400 words. (Novel is not that long.)


Challenge Novel #4


Novel #4…The Writing of BURN CARD: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

 Challenge Day 26 (Wednesday)… Words written… ?  Total so far… ? words.


The Day Breakdown

3.5 hours writing… 3,100 words
.5 hours exercise plus normal movement… 6,000 steps
7.5 hours of work for workshops and e-mails and meetings and such.

The rest is television and cooking and and so on. Plus 8 hours of sleep. One 10 minute nap.


Days over 6,000 words… 15 of 25
Days over 11,000 steps… 11 of 25

22.5 hours of regular job work this week. Today is week day four.


Tracking Word Counts… July 25th, 2017
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,406

— Daily Fiction: 3,300 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 125,300 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 700 words
— Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 11,800 words
— E-mail: 56 e-mails.  Approx. 3,700 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 776 e-mails. Approx. 46,000 words




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 #13… Aug 8th … Depth #3: Research
Class #14… Aug 8th … Endings
Class #15… Aug 8th … Point of View
Class #16… Aug 8th … Writing Mysteries
Class #17… Aug 8th … Speed
Class #18… Aug 8th … Teams in Fiction
Class #19… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #20… Aug 9th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #21… Aug 9th … Character Development
Class #22… Aug 9th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #23… Aug 9th … Advanced Depth
Class #24… Aug 9th … Writing Fantasy


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  • Mark Kuhn

    Dean, DYNAMITE cover for the next Cold Poker Gang book! I’m at work reading your blog and when I read the next book would be a Cold Poker Gang case, I was like, “YES!” People in the surrounding cubes jumped. Very funny, actually. My brother and first reader is now hooked on the Cold Poker Gang series, too.

  • Linda Jordan

    Watching you do these challenges is always so amazing, as I plod along on my current novel. Trying to figure out what I can cut out of my daily life so I can regain my focus. Feels like I’m torn in a dozen different directions, but I keep trying to stay focused. Thanks for the inspiration Dean!

  • Sean Monaghan

    Covers question: I’ve been mirroring some covers so that the spaceship/figure faces to the right of the book – where the reader is headed next. I’ve even put some rotation on images to work that a bit. I notice that the stagecoach for Dry Creek Crossing is heading one way on the novel, and the other way on the Smith’s Monthly. Is that to make it more distinct, or because with that particular image the eye-lines are less obvious? Or something else still on my ever-expanding list of ‘to learn’? Thanks.

    • dwsmith

      No reason. I like it with the line through the image going to the lower right corner, Allyson, our professional, wanted the word of the title to be the last thing to draw the eye.

  • Fred Aiken

    I liked your comment about cooking all the meals this month except when you went into the Valley. This evening, I had the pleasure of cooking dinner for fifty people at Ballut Abyad Shrine. They enjoyed the home made chicken Parmesan, rice pillow, a vegetable medley, tossed salad, and strawberry bunt cake. A lot of complements came my way. Only if my writing drew the same response as my cooking.

    I find that cooking is very relaxing and stress-re-leaving. It is easier to cook for fifty than it is for five. Time requirement is about the same. At least I didn’t have to do the dishes. It also gives me time to think about the material that I am writing.