Teach your children well

Sunday evening Skype:

[5:04:35 PM] Jacob Hoffman: btw do you wash sheets like clothes or what

[5:04:35 PM] Douglas Hoffman: hot wash

[5:04:49 PM] Douglas Hoffman: they don’t shrink, so why not use the hottest setting

[5:05:21 PM] Douglas Hoffman: first time washing your sheets, eh?

[5:05:30 PM | Edited 5:05:40 PM] Jacob Hoffman: yes lol
Read more: Teach your children well

Ghost town

But in fairness, I’ve been writing steadily since August, and I’m maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through what I think will be not only a publishable novel, not only a hell of a novel, but a maybe just maybe important novel? Nah, it’s science fiction, so strike that last bit. But hell of a novel? Yeah. This one makes me look back at Gator & Shark and say, What the hell was I thinking?

I feel good about it. That is all. And now I’m going to write.



WordPress used to be such a friendly place to blog. The vast majority of themes were free, and functionality was not an issue. Now, it seems like everyone wants money for their themes, and the few seemingly slick-looking ones I’ve tried do weird things. The last one would justify text by cutting words anywhere. A lot of them clutter the header with page-links. Even the default theme (which I’m using here — as of this writing) puts the nonsense “#b3c0a9# @print(“”); #/b3c0a9#” at the top right corner.

I’m not happy with the narrowness of the format, and I have hardly any ability to customize the appearance, but it beats having paragraphs that end l
ike this. That really sucked. On the upside, the ugly page-links are gone and my search function is back.

Enough procrastination. I promised myself I would try to get some writing done this morning.

. . . Right after I fold some laundry and find a good pot roast recipe.



I have a new project. I figure, those of you dogged enough to stick with Balls & Walnuts deserve a treat, even if it’s a decidedly incomplete treat. It’s Baked Alaska without the meringue. Pizza without the pepperoni. Foreplay without the orgasm.

But I had a decent writing day today, at least 1000 words, and they were good words, too. Lots of great show-don’t-tell world-building. The new stuff is from Chapter Two, which I have not yet transferred to the blog. I’m getting a better feel for my protag — that’s been my biggest roadblock all along — and most importantly, I see my way forward on the plot.

This will be one of those novels where I won’t know my way until I get there. I mean I have only the most general idea of where this is going. I haven’t constructed a well articulated puzzle (like How to Write a Damn Good Mystery says I should); I’m relying on the Muse to get it right. The result will be messy, the way all of Philip Marlowe’s mysteries were messy. But this is fine. Really.

I went to see Sara Gran at a bookstore in Hollywood about a month ago, and one of the questions I asked her was, “Do you know how your mysteries will end, or do you let your novels grow organically?” She liked the way I phrased the question. She also answered organically. If it’s good enough for Sara Gran, it’s good enough for me.


Time to retool the blogroll?

Blogrolls seem so 2009. Remember when we used to have those “You blogroll me and I’ll blogroll you” conversations? Yeah, me neither. But I’m not yet ready to follow WordPress’s lead and jettison my links altogether; it would be like throwing away an old address book. Yes, I keep my old address book. There are dead people in that address book.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to keep links to defunct blogs. I tossed out any blog that hasn’t been updated in the last six months, and I tossed out folks whom I haven’t heard from in years. What’s left is a pretty slender list.

Here, have a sea cucumber. Or slug. Who knows?


Which all begs the question: does anyone read blogs anymore?


Well, this sucks

As I suspected, the problem here was incompatibility between the old theme and WordPress 3.6. I’ve had to change to a new WP3.6-friendly theme, and this is the best I can do on short notice.

I was on my feet for nine hours today, and I’ve already fielded two calls from my post-op patients. I’m anticipating a troublesome night.

In other news, if you’re curious what I’ve been working on lately, check it out. Bear in mind, please, that this is very much a work in progress, and still quite rough (aesthetically rough, that is. I stand by the writing).


Hey! Look! A contest!

You can win a signed, hard cover edition of Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway


(see my review here) by helping me promote either my free ebook at Smashwords


or my Kindle book,


Here are the rules:

1. Multiple “entries” possible. Each entry will function as a lottery ticket, and I will decide the winner based on a drawing of such tickets. I have only one copy of Sara’s book, so there will be only one winner.

2. Each of the below will count as one entry:

a) Shout out this contest on twitter, facebook, or your blog. Your shout must include the URL for this blog post. If you do so on twitter, facebook, and your blog, that will count as three entries.

b) If you’ve read Gator & Shark, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. (If you do both, that will count as two entries.)

c) If you’ve read Nothing But Light, leave a review on Smashwords or Goodreads. (Ditto.)

3. Contest will end when interest dies down — probably next Monday evening.

4. Important: to get credit, you must indicate in the comments below what you have done.

Any questions?


hey, it’s FREE!

Nothing But Light, my short story collection, available free at Smashwords:

Nothing But Light

Nothing But Light

And here’s the mini-blurb:

A reality-bending toy becomes the next Rubik’s Cube, a grandfather’s stroke pushes him way outside the time stream, and two misfits find inspiration for revenge: these and more off-kilter stories await you in Doug Hoffman’s Nothing But Light.

Did I mention that it’s free?


Now, here’s a nice review!

“Literally anything and everything happened in this funny, exciting, and slightly confusing book. As I read it seemed to get crazier and crazier. The book takes place in the near future so the politics and the tech flow directly from where we are currently and that is frightening. If I hadn’t been reading it on my phone I would not have been able to put it down until the end.”

– over at Goodreads. I’m gonna beg prettily for her to rate me at Amazon.


More adventures in Manga Studio 5: Rule 34

Today, I played with Manga Studio’s free props and rag dolls. I wish there were more — I’d have a blast goofing off with these. It’s a shame that my options are so limited; otherwise, I could run a web comic on freebies alone. Yes, yes, I know I have to use my own art. But that doesn’t stop me from having some fun.


Read more: More adventures in Manga Studio 5: Rule 34