Last June, I began writing my first novel, a thriller about nuclear terrorism. I finished the first draft a month ago and sent two copies to people I know who are avid students of fiction writing. I just got back one copy covered in handwritten notes. The other is still out, Wade Duchene. When I mailed the manuscript, these were the first two people who had seen the novel aside from my wife Mary. I encouraged the reviewers to be critical, stressing to them that I'm already a published author and understatedly ... read more

After one month, I've written 27,000 words of my novel. I have another nine chapters to write, though the story keeps growing longer than the outline I mapped out. My current pace of 794 words a day would reach 100,000 in 125 days. If I were to end the book abruptly -- "and then the meteor struck and they all lived happily ever after in the tragically few hours left to them." -- I would have completed a novella, which by convention ranges in length from 17,500 to 40,000 words. So at a minimum, I can now call ... read more

I recently finished the first draft of Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours, the 22nd book on computer programming and web publishing that I've written in the past 13 years. The book comes out in September -- buy early and often. I decided while working on the book that my next writing project would be a novel. I've never written a novel before, so I sit down to work each morning with absolutely no idea what the hell I'm doing. I recommend the experience highly -- when I was in my 20s, attempting things I didn't ... read more