Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Surviving #NaNoWriMo

Week two of the month long sprint that is #NanoWriMo brings new challenges. The biggest obstacles for most writers-- hitting the wall of inspiration, wondering 'where the hell AM I with this story?' and the nagging feeling you won't make it to 50k words by months end once you start falling behind the pace. 

I am behind on 'words' and have felt the creative parts of my mind nudging against the wall of writers block. The pressure to produce something, anything grows as I sit starting at the screen, waiting for the muse to arrive. 

To keep focus, I'm following the excellent Nano twitter handle NanoWordSprints, which gives motivation, ideas for writing sprints, as well as providing a community of writers there to cheer you on towards the finish line. 

The key is to push forward and not look in the rear view mirror. Revision comes later, after you have bleed the first draft onto the page. Run with the ball, don't walk. Pound the keys as if you know where the story is going, for your brain will find the thread of thought and take up the narrative. 

At this point, I'm not sure about much in my WIP-- LITTLE BLACK BOOK. It's about sex and violence and all else that happens in Sin City. I don't have time and will not stop to 'figure it out', for that is the fastest way to let the writer's block goblins steal your momentum.

So, writers--- it's clear. First drafts are for writing- not thinking, revising, editing, big picture clarifications. 

Pound the keyboard as if it's your last day on earth. 

With that, I return to the chase.

From Las Vegas, where everything that happens ends up in my book. 

Stephen Moran 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I was close to the edge of giving up. I wrote a grand total of 165 unusable words for the first five days of the 30 day sprint and basically had mentally checked out and was ready to throw in the towel.  

Then, yesterday...6k words. 

That isn't a misprint. 

I wrote 6k words of LITTLE BLACK BOOK in one day. 

Now I'm almost back on pace to finish this by the deadline. I'll need another big day.

The story so far is a running stream of sex and violence. I'll post a few chapters if people want to read this early draft material. I don't know if I still need to warn readers of this blog about the type of content--- but this book is basically--- sex, kills, more sex, more death. 

I hope to write at least 2k words today. It's early and i have my coffee. 

Follow along on twitter @NaNoWriMo @smoran26 as I take part in writing prompt sprints and no revision writing as I attempt to write 50k words in 30 days. 

Can I do it?

We shall soon see. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The story so far

Some people have expressed interest in joining the twitter role play. I know I have jumped around a lot in the story, so I shall give you a summary of the journey so far.

Ella Thomas, age 20, leaves her hometown of Uxbridge, Massachusetts on a journey of discovery in search of a man from her childhood that she believes to be in Las Vegas. She is followed by two men, Mr. Brown and the FBI agent, Marcus. 

Ella is a writer working on her first novel throughout the journey and relays her adventures as stories. One chapter details a public mass shooting, another tells of an affair with a bartender in Dallas. 

The stories of sexual encounters and kill scenes are alternated with flashbacks of her childhood abuse at the hands of her father. As she grows as a killer, she continues to tell the story of Ray Holden (a writing mentor and special friend from childhood) and the part he played in the death of her father. 

Ella arrives in Vegas to be held captive by Mr. Brown, who prevents her from completing her quest of finding Ray. Their interactions complete the novel, with Ella 'dealing' with Mr. Brown in her own special way.

The next book finds Ella in Vegas, free and young and rich and in search of men to put to the knife. 

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask or comment. 

Come one and all to twitter and enjoy the role play. 

List of needed characters: 

rich tourists, 
degenerate local gamblers,
drug dealers,
a woman 'friend'
cops, fbi men (Marcus)
nightclub players

Monday, November 4, 2013

Like to Roleplay?

If you like to RP and would like to help with the next Ella book, contact me by comment or email or Facebook or however you want.

I'm looking for the following players: 

Rich tourist gamblers.
Degenerate locals. 
Drug dealers. 

If you are interested, let me know. 

*edit* someone expresses interest in playing Mr. Brown. I will consider a Ghost of Mr. Brown character...played like Dexter's father. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone that took time from their busy lives to read my blog over the last couple of years. All those that have offered comments, critiques and suggestions--- THANK YOU!

As publication of ELLA ramps up--- I have started an official website for my fiction writing to be found here 

I will continue to post non-writing articles on this blog-- namely about poker, politics, finance and other topics that do not fit on the fiction blog. 

I hope you all continue to enjoy the content. 

Enjoy the new site and have a great day! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Novel update and new writing for NanoWriMo

Only 300 words so far, but I'm making progress on the story even if that hasn't translated into typed copy at this point. 

The title is a sticking point for me and it's hard to move forward without having a 'working' title for a book. So, without further delay, I'll give you the different choices and you tell me what you think.

1) A killer in Vegas

2) Little Black Book (of death and sex) 

3) Death in Vegas

At present, here is a summary of the story I have so far--- perhaps that will help make a title choice.

The narrative follows the events of ELLA chronologically and we see Ella in Vegas. The book will be a series of 'chapters' connected by common themes of gruesome murder and sex. The first book told of the journey to 'becoming' a serial killer and this book will jump into the action.

The book centers around Ella keeping a record of her kills/conquests in a little black book. She describes for posterity (and in some ways the FBI) the deaths as they occur, in story fashion. The reader will get a front row seat as Ella leaves a bloody trail of bodies in Las Vegas.

This is all I have for now. Let me know the title you prefer and any comments on the story so far. 

Thank you for reading and following the blog. I will have news about a new website coming soon!!!

Friday, November 1, 2013


Today is November 1st, the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, where hundreds of thousands of novelists try to complete a 50k word novel in 30 days.

Here is a link to the site for any of those interested in more details.

Without any planning, I will jump into the fray and attempt to complete the challenge!

That said, I need ideas to get going. To complete the challenge, a writer needs to write 1667 words a day on average. Time to do this!

I have two ideas I can run with at this moment---

1) The adventures of Rita and Karl- this idea centers around Las Vegas. It will be a casino by casino tour told by chapter, with each chapter representing a complete episode. 

2) an Ella novel filled with sex and murder without any icky childhood drama--- just the good stuff!

Vote in the comments and let me know! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


To the readers,

I am making progress on edits for ELLA and the light at the end of tunnel-- a finished book-- gets closer. 

Draft three is nearing completion and a final edit to smooth out rough edges will be next. I do not have a time frame for when the book might be available on Amazon, but will update when I figure it all out. 

I want to take this time to thank all the readers that have followed this novel as I have posted it serial style, chapter by chapter, over the last year and a half. The feedback I have received truly has helped more than I can tell you. I owe a debt of gratitude especially to Joshua Neary, who was there to read each new installment, hot off the press. 

At present the novel is getting close to 'readable' status. Any of you that have followed this serial that wish to read the collected draft and give feedback towards the final effort, feel free to contact me or comment on this post. Also, when the novel does finally hit the streets, those that have followed along will get a special thank you. 

I am excited and nervous about the next stage-- getting this book ready for publication. There is so much to be done, but hopefully soon I will return to this space with a date and time to share. 

Thanks again to all that have taken the time to read and comment. 

From Las Vegas,

Stephen Moran 

Monday, October 7, 2013


WSOP.COM went live on Thursday the 19th of September, joining Ultimate Poker as the only legal, regulated poker sites in America. In this post, I'll give a brief review of both sites and a brief summary of the current state of online poker in America.

As of this writing, there are only two Legal Sites in America-- both of Nevada- Ultimate Poker, run by Station Casinos with a close alliance with UFC and, run by Caesars Entertainment, which owns the WSOP brand. 

Ultimate Poker went live April 30th and has developed a solid base of regulars that play the site. It exclusively offers Texas Holdem in both cash and tournament versions. Average daily volume of players-- 150. offers Holdem, Omaha and Stud poker. Average daily traffic is 75 ( at present and climbing steadily as Caesars is now beginning to ramp up advertising for this site.

Neither site at present has enough traffic for poker players to grind out a living. As other states come online (New Jersey on November 26th), the player pool will expand and offer a better experience to all. 

Both sites have positive and negative points.

Ultimate Poker has superior customer service and has answered every complaint and suggestion thrown its way by players. However, their software lacks many of the usual bells and whistles poker players have come to expect such as waiting lists, the ability to take notes, among other features. has far superior software, but trails UP in base numbers, as it charges higher rake by 11% and has an inferior VIP program. 

All in all, these two sites are on a learning curve--- both have a presence in the 2+2 forums and interact with players on various issues to get up to speed. Both have opportunities to improve-- UP must improve its software and has experienced complaints with customer service.

Bottom line--- legal online poker in America is in its infancy, but improving by the day.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hello from Las Vegas

I know it has been a long time and I apologize for my absence. Life keeps me busy and I hope all is well with readers of this blog. 

I am working on edits for ELLA, some of which I will post soon, beginning with a new chapter one, titled UXBRIDGE, MA.  I will also post a chapter from a new WIP, tentatively called THE CITY, which I can best describe as a Utopian story. The plot centers around a simply question..."What would you do if you were in charge of your own city?" That question popped into a dream from a few weeks back and I've been making notes on it ever since. The questions that will not go away usually turn into stories/novels. 

Once I am finished with the next draft of ELLA, it will be full speed ahead towards publication. Hopefully I will be able to give more news about that situation soon.

In current events, we are seeing sweeping changes in America on various issues from gun control, marriage equality and others. I will not inject any opinions on such issues in this post. I will give you this simple message instead--- I encourage you to vote, show up at town halls, write letters to your elected representatives, protest if you think it is needed. So many complain about Washington, but are not willing to be part of the solution. Don't be an armchair quarterback--- get involved in shaping the country. 

The more people that engage in Democracy, the less fringe lunatics make a stamp on our nation. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

WALK FOR MS-- National MS Society

Hello to all from Las Vegas. 

I am writing to you today to share that I'm participating in a WALK MS event on SUNDAY, APRIL 14th to raise money for the NATIONAL MS SOCIETY. Multiple Sclerosis affects over 2 million people worldwide and The NATIONAL MS SOCIETY raises money to help fight this disease. For those not familiar with the disease, I have included a link to the Main MS SOCIETY page, which is loaded with information. There is also a link available to all those that wish to donate and help me raise money for my walk. 

To those that can't donate at this time, there are other ways to help. Put the picture and link on your FACEBOOK or TWITTER to raise awareness to this disease and encourage others to donate through monetary donations or volunteer to help your local MS chapter with a walk in your area. Giving time and money to a good cause will yield rewards you can't measure in a bank account. Please give of your time and attention to this WALK MS!!!

What is Multiple Sclerosis? : National MS Society
National MS Society

Monday, March 18, 2013

...and what now?

Hello to my faithful readers,

I took a few weeks off writing after finishing the second draft of ELLA. I am now ready to tackle revisions for the stretch run  towards publication and will post updates on the blog as to the progress of this and estimated release dates as that information comes available. 

I also am revising several of my older short stories to be placed in a collection. I do not have a working title for this short story collection. If you have read some of my stories and a name pops in your head, feel free to share in the comments section or post on my Facebook or Twitter. 

Anyone that wishes to receive a beta version of my WIP ELLA feel free to contact me. I am definitely in need of a diverse set of opinions/suggestions for improvement. 

I will begin posting new stories shortly with new characters to meet. There are several pieces waiting to be uploaded and I'm very excited for the new direction the blog will take over the next couple of months. 

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Today I will give a review of the book SANDCASTLE AND OTHER STORIES by Justin Bog. This feature has been a long time coming. 

I first read this book of ten short stories almost a year ago. I fell in love with the stories and re-read the e-book version several times. Then, as now, my favorite is the title story--- SANDCASTLE. This story surprised, inspired and left me wanting to read more. Justin's style is unique and quite readable. The prose in this collection is smooth and enables the reader to get deep into the stories without having to re-read sentences/paragraphs, something that is of major importance when reading short stories. 

Short stories are best when read in their entirety in one sitting. The stories in this volume are impossible to put down and I am sure you will be as enthralled by these tales as I am. These stories stayed in my mind long after I put down my kindle and compelled me to read multiple times. I truly believe this collection is the highest quality fiction. 

A few days ago, Justin was kind enough to send me a signed copy of the paperback version of this book. I am grateful and will cherish this copy. 

Below are links to his author web site as well as links to purchase the e-book/paperback at Amazon. 

If you buy only one collection of short stories this year, make it this one!!!