The Myth of Time and the Cabin in the Woods

I’ve often said that marketing a book is like running for office—mostly grass roots appearances (sometimes in readers’ homes), rubber chicken lunches and book store signings where patrons generally ask for directions to the bathroom. However, unlike running for office, book marketing never ends.

And so I find myself planning to go back on the stump again when my new Las Vegas ghost novel, The House Always Wins, launches in October. And I’m reminded that almost any time I find myself out in public hustling my wares, some well-intentioned soul will comment, “I’m going to write a book someday when I have the time.”

My first impulse is to say something unkind. Instead, I smile and say, “Good for you.” But what I’m really thinking is, Yeah, that’s all it takes. Time. No talent, no classes, no prodigious reading list, no 10,000 hours. Just time. And then I sigh.

I get doubly annoyed because real writers make time. I get up earlier than a Navy Seal because I do my best writing in the wee hours. Not because I want to, but because I have to. The words wake me up. My author friends understand what I’m talking about. Of course, something’s got to give. Little things like health, relationships, going to the bathroom (I use it as a reward, but that’s a topic for another day). I guess it’s a form of insanity.

I feel the same way about the fairy-tale “Cabin in the Woods.” Can’t you just visualize it? There in the clearing, peeking through the morning mist? Folks who dream of writing but never put an actual word to paper believe if they could just sequester themselves for three or four months, they’d emerge triumphant, big time publishing deal in hand, with the 21st Century’s first Great American Novel. Instead, I’ll give you 10 to one odds they emerge with sunburn, poison ivy and mosquito bites, but nary a chapter.

Wanna know where I do a lot of my writing? Airplanes and airports. Otherwise it’s totally wasted time. And people tend to leave you alone. Especially if you mutter to yourself and occasionally laugh out loud.

My mind always goes back to “The Lovely Bones,” where each person gets to create his or her own heaven. My heaven will have that cabin. And a beach house. And an infinite amount of time.

And ice cream.


  • Jim Servino
    July 30, 2017 1:48 am

    I enjoyed the insight into a writer’s mind and habits. I wish you continued successes. I look forward to reading your new book.

  • Valerie Polihronakis
    July 30, 2017 2:01 pm

    I’m going to read a book someday – when I get the time! LOL! I can only imagine what it would take to actually write a book… Creativity, humor, quick wit, organization, strong vocabulary, and writing skills quickly come to mind. You are blessed with all of those and much more! Keep going to airports and keep writing my friend!

  • While I am lucky enough that my Grandparents have a cabin in the mountains by a creek where I penned a several poems and started stories, the majority of my poems wrote me, where I was . . . sometimes between the binding tears of heartbreak and betrayal, sometimes fueled by liquid courage on bar napkins and sometimes in the depths of depression and sometimes lighted by love.

  • Thank God you included ice cream.
    Love your insight!

  • Kudos to you if you can focus on writing in airports. Having flown in last night from San Jose, my eardrums are still recovering from the anguish of the noise and cacophony in SJC airport . My hat is off to you if you can shut that all out :). Best of luck with your latest novel.

  • I do my best writing while I wait for my hair dye to do its thing.

  • Loved your previous books; looking forward to the next. I do have a cabin in the woods. I never got much
    Writing done there as there was always some pressing project waiting to be done.

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