Writing was my way of heading into the thick of the action

Don Simkovich sitting in front of laptop outdoors.
Don Simkovich sitting in front of laptop outdoors.
Selfie by Don Simkovich

I was in early grade school when the NBC Nightly News splashed videos and images of the Vietnam War across the television screen. My parents were typically busy upstairs while I watched in our basement’s family room.

What intrigued me was how journalists could cover fights in the jungle and even American POWs being marched through the streets of Hanoi. A desire to help struck me along with marveling over this unusual role of relaying information.

My mother showed me another way of being in the action as a reporter. She wrote for our town’s newspaper and we were eating…

The day trip from Pasadena to Randsburg took me into a different world and frame of mind

View of the mountains from BLM land near Randsburg.
View of the mountains from BLM land near Randsburg.
All photos by Don Simkovich

If you’re in So Cal and feeling a touch of cabin fever, head up to the High Desert to ride ATVs or hike on Bureau of Land Management land. Thousands of acres of open land near Randsburg along Highway 395 with mountains in the distance offer an open range.

I’ve lived in Pasadena since the mid-80s but this was the first time I ventured there, a different world and slightly more than two hours from my home.

I took the trip recently with my granddaughter, her friends who were on Christmas break. …

I’m using the platform to only connect with other writers

Eggs with silly faces.
Eggs with silly faces.
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

I started Twitter in 2009, when users were still tweeting about their lunches and that they were driving to the store. But that’s when businesses were finding out about the platform and sharing more of their business news.

One of my content marketing clients at the time was the owner of several apartment buildings. I rewrote his website pages and then tweeted out info on his apartments.

I built up views and followers. …

Use these free and low-cost resources at all stages of your writing and marketing

Woman reaching for a hand.
Woman reaching for a hand.
Indie authors need a helping hand — I’ve listed a lot below. Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Writing fiction can get lonely and, like most entrepreneurs, we’re often misunderstood. Getting one novel after another published and going through the work of marketing can be exhilarating, and yet tedious.

My writing partner and I released our fifth novel in mid-November and I was determined that we were finally going to sell books. I had been aware of various authors who were helpful, but for some reason the advice just didn’t stick in my head.

I also hit the wall during our third and fourth novels of thinking, “I’ve done everything and yet our books don’t sell.”

I set…

I’m laying out the important tasks this morning

Man covered in Post It notes
Man covered in Post It notes
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Ideally, my planning work would have been done before this morning started, but that’s not the case. We’ve been watching additional children from Monday night through Saturday night for the past two months and that included planning for Christmas, taking them ATV riding last Wednesday and heading to the snow this past Saturday.

In addition, we had a birthday party for our granddaughter yesterday so my own work kept getting rolled back.

This morning had that feeling that I typically don’t like — you’re racing at 100 miles per hour and then — brake — it’s all done. Now you’ve…

Here’s what I did when I had to find solutions

Photo by Ludovic Migneault on Unsplash

Learning to get un-stuck is on my mind this month — and this week. I’ve found helpful resources that breathed new life into sales for my first crime-thriller novel that was published in August 2016.

Last week, my fiction writing partner and I sold over 70 copies of Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas. Sure, it has Christmas in the title but that never helped in past years. In fact, during the past four years we probably had 30 sales total.

This past week and into this week also led to sales and Kindle Unlimited reads of our other four…

Writing and selling novels requires immersing yourself in learning

Tom Stone novels and book marks.
Tom Stone novels and book marks.
Cover art for Tom Stone novels, photo by Lon Casler Bixby

Imagine if I had written a novel and it took off to make thousands of sales right out the door. My wife would have been happy because writing fiction would be more than just a hobby. But the downside of success like that is I probably wouldn’t have learned why the book sold in the first place.

That’s a debatable situation because it didn’t happen, fortunately or unfortunately.

I write the Tom Stone Detective Stories with a writing partner and we had okay sales during the launches of our first three novels thanks to friends via social media and our…

A week of traveling, Thanksgiving weekend and a few days of the flu have forced me to re-capture my rhythm

Road with fading center lane divider.
Road with fading center lane divider.
Photo by Marcus Byrne on Unsplash

We all have our days, don’t we?

Sometimes our weeks and months?

Or, years?

This image by photographer Marcus Byrne grabbed my attention as I sought to illustrate my thinking.

Consider the difference between driving on a smooth highway or interstate with little traffic and a rutted road that jars your brains.

You’re cruising along at a nice speed but because so few cars and trucks are around you, you don’t feel like you’re flying. …

You don’t have to drive far to have a memorable time

Retired aircraft at China Lake Naval Weapons Base, Ridgecrest, CA
Retired aircraft at China Lake Naval Weapons Base, Ridgecrest, CA
Photo by: RuthAS, Wikipedia

I’ve traveled from Los Angeles up the 14 Freeway and onto Highway 395 on my way to Lake Tahoe. There’s a place past Red Rock State Park where the 14 merges into 395 with a sign points east to the town of Ridgecrest and the naval air weapons base.

We were watching four children for a friend, plus our two grandchildren, and decided to travel four hours to Keough Hot Springs in Bishop to give the kids a memorable time on a Saturday.

The gang included two girls and one boy aged 12 to 14 and two boys and one…

An urban enclave with an eye toward environmental sustainability along the beaches

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Los Angeles is a collection of completely different enclaves with unique environments. Los Angeles’ Westside is a case in point with its own collection of neighborhoods that differ greatly from Santa Monica and Venice Beach to Playa Vista and Westchester. Ocean breezes that cool the area are an attraction but so are the many walkable and bikeable streets.

Do commutes in Los Angeles make you shudder with dread?

Another draw to the Westside is the ability to live close to where you work.

“I know so many people who live within two miles of where they work,” says Limor Zamir

Don Simkovich, MA

Don is co-author of the Tom Stone Detective novels on Amazon and writes content for businesses. Visit www.donsimkovich.com / https://socalcontentwriting.com

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