And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)

ocean-fenceIn my latest newsletter I asked for input about which of these works in progress should get my attention after I finish A Still, Small Voice and Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle. (If you want in on stuff like this, sign up for my newsletter.)

  1. The 3rd Irish adventure — From the Fog (follows Through the Fog and Into the Fog)
  2. A 3rd Phil Brennan mystery — A Short, Sharp Shock (follows A Long, Hard Look and A Still, Small Voice [not yet published])
  3. More scifi/adventure — another Jake Calcutta (follows Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle [not yet published])
  4. More Jesse Donovan (follows That She Is Made of Truth)
  5. The Village Id — a witty cozy mystery set in a small English village filled with quirky characters; very P. G. Wodehouse. Check out the 1st chapter.
  6. Coming of age story — a young teen’s life is disrupted when his family has to move in with relatives; he turns to music for comfort
  7. Anacrusis (a mystery with a female lead) — A woman dumps her unfaithful fiancee and moves to a small town where two men amorously pursue her, while one of them awaits the life insurance payoff from the first wife he murdered.

Continue reading “And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)”


What Music Videos Teach Us About Author Readings

author-readingThe early days of music videos taught us a number of things, but one of the biggest lessons I took was that musicians cannot necessarily act. The first corollary is that bad acting spoils an otherwise good video. The second is that a bad video takes some of the joy out of a good song.

Stretching a bit more: find video of Irving Berlin, playing piano and singing. Perhaps the worst singer capable of carrying a tune in all history.

Continue reading “What Music Videos Teach Us About Author Readings”


Contrast and Brightness

One month ago at this moment our yard was silent and white. A foot of snow covered everything, including the lake. The pines had a light frosting of white and the darker bark of the elms and walnuts stood out from it all.

Nothing moved. No sound but a tractor in the distance.

contrasting seasons

Continue reading “Contrast and Brightness”


What I Think About the Rules of Writing

this rule, we followMost of them are nonsense. Unlike this sign we saw in Ireland —>

Big discussions recently about toward and towards; see also forward(s) and backward(s) and whatnot.

People want rules. I get that.

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Weights and Tangles: Stumbling & Dragging in a Tangle

tangled weightWe are Sisyphus.

We are Ahab.

We are Kanye. Sorry, but we are.

We don’t let go. We claim we’re cursed by the gods to keep pushing the stupid boulder up the stupid hill, but that’s not what’s really happening. We think it’s about the white whale, but it’s us. We pretend it’s about art.

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Authors Starving in China

sproutsIf you’re old enough, you remember a scene, whether in real life or on TV, of a parent telling their food-fussy child “Eat your sprouts; there are children starving in China!”

(If only the kids could send their Brussel sprouts to China. But I digress.)

Do hungry children in another land make it more important for your kids to eat well? Perhaps there’s a thin, very thin, connection with showing appreciation that we don’t go wanting. Try telling that to a kid facing a pile of Brussel sprouts.

How often have you heard an author decry the lack of quality in self-published books, saying that lack of quality hurts us all?

Let’s mull this over, shall we?

Continue reading “Authors Starving in China”


Finishing

Chapter 1 went live on January 31st (because that’s when I wrote it.)

I’d had the first sentence rattling around in my head for decades. I typed it, for something to do, and the rest of the first chapter came out as if I’d already written it.

The way it ended, I knew I had to keep going.

“Going” is right. In 58 days I wrote 56 chapters. During that time we also moved everything we owned into storage in order to move out of the house we rented before we left for a month-long business trip, which we also had to pack and prepare for, while maintaining some semblance of our normal life.

When people tell me they don’t have time to write, I marvel. Continue reading “Finishing”



Why is Silence the New “No” ?

I get a lot of spam. Not the autobot machine stuff; Gmail filters all that out. I get lots of emails from real human beings who want to help me optimize the SEO for my websites or to provide coding services for my web company.

I used to reply this isn’t a match for me, but that seemed to invite dialog, which also isn’t a match for me thank you very much.

Now I just delete them.

Most of the time they’re canned emails these folks are sending out to anyone who has “website” in their portfolio.

There are other people I’ll move heaven and earth to respond to. Real people, who approach me about something real. A question about publishing or the web or music. Real people who know something about me, and took the risk of putting their hand out to a stranger.

Sometimes, though, I can’t help them. Continue reading “Why is Silence the New “No” ?”


Right and Wrong and Tolerance and Best

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/857772 by Jose Bernalte http://www.mrkstudios.com/Unprecedented tolerance. Personal freedoms. No idea left behind. DIY.

Everybody’s opinion is equal, and opinions are more important than facts.

I have seen people who can’t spell or punctuate properly, in the comments on Amazon, dismiss the writings of brilliant minds like Daniel Kahneman simply because they haven’t bothered to find out who he is and they happen to disagree with him.

It is popular to pretend that all ideas are equal. All roads lead to Rome. Every method has merits, and everyone should find their own path.

Tolerance is great. But there is still, often enough, a “best way” to accomplish something.
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