Barstow Blues


Four years ago this Saturday was a typical triple-digit heat wave in Bakersfield. I opened the local fish-wrap and saw this article about a writer’s group meeting with an interesting speaker. If I wanted to go I had one hour before the meeting started. I’m not sure why I went.

It was like a repentant sinner hearing the singing from the big tent out in the field and the irresistible urge to go see what’s happening. I wanted somebody to lay hands on me and shout in my ear, “Man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter.”

Oh sure, everybody wants to write a book. Until they try. I had never tried.

And like everybody, I thought it might be something I’d like to do…someday.

When I retired eight years ago, I had a burning ambition to learn option trading. And I did. And I did OK. Sometimes a lot better than OK. Only one thing stopped me from continuing.  A pretty big thing. A large blood-pressure reading and a sarcastic doctor.
Doctor in lab coat smiling

 (You know, Dan, if you made as much money as me you could say, Screw the Market!)

But, I was hooked on spending 15-18 hours a day in front of the computer screen trying to second-guess where the market would be in 60 or 90 days. I thought if I was going to replace this passion I needed a new one.  I still had playing and writing music but that’s a weekend thing.

So, I went to this writer’s meeting and some young gal from L.A. stood in front of the audience and told everybody they could write a novel in 30 days.  She said in November (40 days away)  was a contest called NaNoWriMo and there would be over a quarter million folks trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Hopefully 50,000 words that made sense.

I went home and told my wife I was going to write a novel in November. She never flinched. She said, “You can do it. Go for it.”

I did. I was one of 20,000 people (less than 10%) who made it and won the challenge. I was hooked.

So every November for the last four years I wrote a novel in 30 days. This year I couldn’t wait till November and already wrote #5.

Does that mean they are any good?  Hell No! Most of it was vomit. The better parts were shit.

But writing is really re-writing. So that first novel from four years ago I have re-written at least four times and today I’m proud to ask you to “PLEASE BUY MY NOVEL.”

I promise I won’t keep asking.

Just click on the book cover in the side column and you’ll be magically transported to a place called Amazon. One more click after that and I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life.
barstow blues book cover-LATEST 2

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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13 Responses to Barstow Blues

  1. Mandy says:

    Just ordered Barstow Blues. If it’s half as entertaining as your blog posts, it’s money well spent. Will you sign it for me?

  2. joanraymondwriting says:

    Dan, I’m so excited to see Barstow Blues in print. CONGRATS!! Just ordered a copy – and I’d like mine autographed also. 🙂

  3. Anna Stewart says:

    Me too! Me too! Autograph!

  4. Dan, wow, good for you! I am so far a strictly non-fiction writer, but maybe next year, I might just take up the NaNoWriMo challenge. I enjoyed browsing through your blog…light-hearted and fun. And I love your use of photos and graphics.

    • bakoheat says:

      Thanks for writing. I encourage everyone who reads this to click on Joan’s “Travel lessons from A-Z.” Wonderful descriptive narration of all the place I want to go. Thank you.

  5. heyannis says:

    Dan, I am SO excited for you! Congratulations. I’ve loved your writing and look forward to reading your book. xoA

  6. Tom Behler says:

    But promise me, no more ‘wining’ about your musical instrument sales rep days, OK?

    ;-]

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