Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest Post: DL Hammons

CF:  Most new writers stumble into blogging because they hear it's the way to "create a platform" or "develop a web presence" or "plant seeds of future fandom."   OK, I made that last one up, but the point is the same -- many new writers come to blogging looking to cultivate some sort of later benefit for their writing.  

I did. And yet, I now realize I enjoy the process of blogging in its own right.

Plus, I've also discovered a much larger benefit to blogging that I never expected:  The tremendous outpouring of support from other writers.  Being able to connect with this interwoven community of fellow weavers of the written word is a fabulous aspect of blogging -- one that I never envisioned when I first stuck my toes into the blogging etherwebs.  I've met a wonderful world of writers, from still-learning newbies like myself to multi-published writers with decades of experience, and they've all been extremely supportive. I'm blessed to have met them.

Today, I'm turning over this blog to one in particular.

The fellow writer I've known the longest -- even before I started blogging, actually -- is my good friend, Don "DL" Hammons.  He is a talented writer and a dynamic blogger.  His Cruising Altitude 2.0 is a wonderful blog visited faithfully by many hundreds of followers.  Plus, DL is one of the most genuine, kind, and caring people I've ever met, and I'm honored to be able to call him my friend.  

Please welcome DL to my small corner of the blogoverse:


Hey everybody! *waves*

Yeah…that’s me in the picture on the rim of the Grand Canyon contemplating what I was going to say here today. Forgive me if I stumble along, this is my very first guest post. I’ve done interviews before and read oodles of guest posts by other blogger/writers, but being on the other side is definitely different.

Chris and I have been pals since before either of us had a blog, trolling the writing forums together. He is a talented writer, a wealth of information, and a stalwart friend/supporter. That is why I really want to do what I can to make him proud that he tapped me for this honor.

How about a little background first? I’m married to my best friend (30 years next year) and have three awesome children (Son – 25, Daughter – 22, Son – 13), work as the Customer Services Manager for a popular lunchmeat manufacturer in central Arkansas, but what you’re probably most interested in is my writing chops. Although my passion for creative writing was born in my high school days, it lay dormant for many years while I used my skills to create procedure manuals and instruction guides for my various employers. That is until four years ago when out of the blue I felt compelled to write a short story about a spring break trip to Florida I took during my college days. The short story grew into a novella, and then eventually a full grown Mystery/Suspense novel. My passion was officially awakened!

It was during the writing of that first book when my blog, Cruising Altitude 2.0 was born. One of my characters in the book was supposed to be a popular blogger, and although I had played around with blogging on Myspace and Facebook, I didn’t have a blog of my own at the time. So I decided to create a writing blog to chronicle my experience and I gave it the same title of the blog from my book. I thought it would be cool if I ever did become published my readers could learn more about me via a connection from the book. Although the book sits on a shelf now collecting dust, the blog is still going strong. How’s that for irony?

I’ve since written a second novel (which I’m querying to agents right now), several short stories (one which will be published this summer),currently outlining my next project which will be a YA Horror/Suspense, and have worked hard to become a relevant contributor in our blogging community. Building a support group via the blogosphere takes time and effort, which I recently blogged about HERE, but it can also become a hindrance to writing development. I’ve struggled with that myself (thus the 2.0 at the end of Cruising Altitude) and finding that right balance is something every blogger has to face. It can be done though, and the rewards are well worth the effort.

I want to thank Chris for giving me the opportunity to drop by and visit with ya’ll (yes – I live in the South). If you’re one of his followers, you’ve chosen well. If not, become one now. You’ll be richer for it!



Suzie F. said...

Great post, DL. Thanks for sharing your blogging story. I started blogging about a year after deciding to write with the goal of being published one day. I enjoy it a lot and have met so many wonderful, supportive people in the writing community, but struggle with the time issue.

You're so fortunate to have a good friend going through this journey with you. Thanks for pointing me to his blog - now following!

Heather Murphy said...

Great post! Both of you have great blogs and are incredibly helpful and supportive. I think we are all struggling with that same balance.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, thirty years married? Congrats! I feel like I've known you for years but it was nice to learn more about your writing journey. Love the pic!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh oh oh, I want to beta read your YA novel when it's ready, DL. :D

I didn't realize your kids are that old. Your youngest is about the same age as my oldest.

DL Hammons said...

Chris - Thank you for that heart warming introduction! It was an honor to guest post here today and I hope it brings you the attention you deserve!

Suzie - The time issue has its ebbs and flows. Learning how to roll with the tide is the best advice I can give. :)

Heather - Thank you! Chris and I keep each other honest! :)

Clarrisa - Yep...the Big 30. We're taking the family to Disney World for our anniversary. (That's where we honeymooned.)

Stina - Deal!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great guest post. Good luck with your querying process, D.L.

Glynis said...

DL (Don), is a supportive blogging buddy. :D

Chris Fries said...

DL: Thank you for a great guest post, buddy!

And to all the other visitors and commenters: Thank you for visiting my blog! I really appreciate it. ;^)

Ciara said...

DL I started a blog for the same reasons, but also found the community to be amazing. Great guest post, you did great for your first. Also, thanks for introducing me to this blog. I'm following Chris now.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I always kind of wondered what the title of your blog meant. Interesting that the blog outlasted the manuscript!

Good luck on your querying! I did light that prosperity candle, like I promised. I expect the two of us will be getting the resulting good emails any day now! :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's definitely worth the time and effort! Best thing about blogging is the friendships. And support. It's definitely kept me going.
And thanks for the background on your blog title. Now I know!

DL Hammons said...

Susan - Thank you!

Glynis - And someday I hope to be asking you to return the favor! :)

Ciara - You've chosen wisely! :)

Dianne - Now when the DL Trivia Pursuit game comes out you'll be a cinch! :)

Julie Dao said...

I'm so glad you decided to start blogging, Don, and proud to call you a friend, mentor, and critique partner. I've even been lucky enough to have Mrs. Hammons read my manuscript! A lovely family and I hope we get to meet in person one day at one of your book signings, if I can get a good spot in that long line of fans.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You wrote a story about a blogger before you were a blogger? At least you had an excuse for starting a blog - research!

And I love the ya'll. That's the one word I picked up when I lived in Arkansas.

Bish Denham said...

Wow! Thirty years married. I hope you and your wife have at least thirty more.

I'm glad I *met* you. Isn't the blogging community the bestest thing invented since the wheel?

SA Larsenッ said...

Great image of you, Don!! I don't think you had anything to worry about stumbling. ;D

Love this post, and getting to know you even better. Such a pleasure.

DL Hammons said...

Alex - My character chose the CRUISING ALTITUDE because he had reached a point in his life where he had risen above most of the turbulence and his view of the world was now sunstantially different. :)

Julie - Ditto to the MAX! Our successes are really OUR successes! :)

Diane - And then there's always..."I'm fixin to." :)

DL Hammons said...

Bish - It's been a wonderful 30 years, so another 30 would be awesome! :)

SA - That was our first time to the Grand Canyon and it was breathtaking! Kind of helps you remember your place in the world. :)

Tara Tyler said...

that was sweet! glad to know more about DL, nice guy author!

Cherie Reich said...

That is a pretty cool reason to blog. Great guest post!

cleemckenzie said...

I enjoyed this visit. I started blogging for one reason--I wanted to tell others about my books--but that quickly shifted into wanting to share ideas and meet other writers. I don't think I could have continued with blogging if it were just for promotion. The irony is I'm writing more than I ever did before starting my blog.

Tonja said...

I started blogging as a daily warm-up to writing. I was also very surprised to find such a supportive group of writers.

DL Hammons said...

Tara - I know...right, there just aren't many of us guy authors out here in the blogosphere! :)

Cherie - I thought so...and what a blessing it turned out to be!

cleemckenzie - Writing more is always a good thing! :)

Tonja - There are plenty of times when blogging becomes my writing every day fulfillment! :)

Nicole Pyles said...

I had no idea the history of your blog! That's so cool! And...way cooler sounding than why I started a blog! :) At least more interesting anyway!

Christina Lee said...

Hi Chris and DL *waves*!! Great post, I hear ya on the great blogging/writing balancing act!

Nick Wilford said...

It was fun to read about how you started writing and blogging. I too, never expected to find such a warm community of like-minded individuals, such as your good self. Nice post! Thanks for introducing me to Chris, too!

Mina Burrows said...

I'm so jealous about the Grand Canyon.

I agree about the hindrance comment. Finding balance is so hard. And blogging makes it that much harder.

DL Hammons said...

Nicole - Our beginnings are always interesting to everyone except ourself. :)

Christina - *waves back* "Look ma...no hands!" :)

Nick - It's like stumbling into an auditorium filled with thousands of people...and their all YOUR BEST FRIEND! :)

DL Hammons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

You did very well for your first time Don. I haven't a guest post either, though I've hosted many. And balance is one the toughest things for me too.

I enjoyed your story; as you mention on your own blog today, I am not disappointed :)

Very nice to meet you Chris.


Jemi Fraser said...

Blogging really does become a fun activity in and of itslef. I kinda like the title of the story I was working on when I started blogging - maybe I should have used that too :)

DL Hammons said...

Mina - Visiting the Grand Canyon should be on everyone's bucket list! :)

Donna - And I even left Chris a couple beers in his fridge! :)

Jemi - I'm not giving up on that first novel. Someday I'll return to it and whip it into shape! :)

Jess said...

Hey DL~ you're writing a YA Horror/suspense next??? Actually, I think you might have mentioned that on your blog~ either way, I've seen more than one agent specify that particular genre on their wish list lately--get writing!! (and good luck with the MS you're querying now!)

Kari Marie White said...

I loved learning about how the name of your blog came about DL. I've always wondered about it.

Good luck with your querying.

Crack You Whip said...

The Grand Canyon is definitely on my list of places to go.

I hope to be married 30 years someday!

Leslie S. Rose said...

Great to get to know you a little better DL/Don. Love the Grand Canyon pic. Fingers and toes crossed that your query road will end at your own Emerald City.

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

DL Hammons said...

Jess - I've had several people who've heard the pitch for my YA/Horror/Suspense tell me to get it written NOW! You've just amped that up another notch! :)

Kari - When I get that agent call, we'll do shots! :)

Crack - We only spent 5 hours there, but it was memorable!

Leslie - I just hope the Wizard doesn't turn out to be a used car salesman!

Anonymous - Thank you!

Chris Fries said...

Hey all:

I just want to again thank DL for the wonderful guest post, and for all the visitors, comments, and new followers of my blog!

I'm swamped today at work, but I will make it a point to repay the blog visits ASAP!

And Don, I forgot to tell you: My wife and I absolutely want to go to the Grand Canyon -- your picture is awesome. ;^)

Kelly Hashway said...

Hi, DL. It was good getting to learn more about you. Good luck querying and working on your YA.

Misha Gericke said...

Hey DL. It's interesting how you got into blogging. Good luck with your querying. :-)

Nicki Elson said...

That is hilarious that you started blogging as research - and now look at you!

A short story published this summer? Yahoo!

Chris, I totally agree that it was a surprise - a very happy one - to discover what a great writing resource the blogging community is.

farawayeyes said...

Nice guest post- DL - definitely one of the good guys-doesn't get much better.

Hey Chris- I left an AWARD for you over at my blog.It's an effort to get to know my 15 newest followers better. Stop by and check it out.

alexia said...

I never knew the story about your blog name! Cool :)

DL Hammons said...

Kelly - Thank you! As long as I keep busy with my YA, the tension of querying doesn't bother me!

Misha - Yeah, I kind of slipped in through the side door. :)

Nicki - I know...right?! :)

Farawayeyes - Thank you! And Chris is well worth the award!!

Alexia - It's origin is a bit unusual! :)

Nicole said...

Nice tag-team post, guys! Thanks for the perspective.

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to know you a bit better. Yeah, the writing urge can come suddenly. Before you know it, you're knee deep in the process and there's no looking back.

Allison said...

Thanks for sharing, DL! I never knew how your blog got its name.

Allison (Geek Banter)

DL Hammons said...

Nicole - First tag-team blogging, then cage wrestling! What do you think is next?? :)

Stephen - Looking back at when I first started, I was so ignorant of EVERYTHING! :)

Allison - I posted about it once, a long...long time ago!

LTM said...

Yay! *waves to Chris* DL, first of all, that picture of you makes my stomach feel funny. Back up!!! :D

Secondly, woow. 30 years. That is so cool. Isn't it funny how that passion for writing can just suddenly emerge? I had the same experience after being a journalist. The story of your blog IS funny! You are an awesome contributor to our blogging community, and BIG CONGRATS! on the publication! Best, <3