Bless Their (little) Hearts

It would be easy to give in to rage over this image in the NRA's official organ, The American Rifleman. It would be natural and normal to descend into name-calling against them. But that's exactly what the NRA wants, isn't it? Emotional contagion. Rather than express my disgust at this callous provocation to violence, I'll … Continue reading Bless Their (little) Hearts

Speaking of Oscar

Previously blogged: Oscar KeyE is Dead. Long Live Oscar Keye. Rather than dwell on my dislike for all things Oscar Awards, trying to unravel the reasons for my disdain, I'll revisit one thing I do love about Oscar: his utility as an early alter-ego. 'Oscar Keye is dead and I am free,' I wrote in … Continue reading Speaking of Oscar

Lords of the Flies

We boys are to be left alone while the lynchpin of our home operation conducts child labor research in island-nation Philippines for the next seven days. The irony's not lost on me. How long 'til we descend into savagery? Not to worry. Rather than cranking the inevitable conflagrant sounds we so admire, we'll tuck ourselves … Continue reading Lords of the Flies

Revising for Backstory

Emotion How does a writer revise an old manuscript? Skim the surface line-editing a well-worn draft? I suppose there’s a method for every problem. What if the problem is an absence of feeling and emotion? In this case the problem demanded the author talk himself to the solution. I sat down and wrote to myself: … Continue reading Revising for Backstory

In the Pathless Woods: Revising

Three years after writing a novel called The Fortress for my eight-year-old son, I’m taking on the fourth revision. It's got a new title, In the Pathless Woods, inspired by Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, the 18th century narrative poem by George Gordon, Lord Byron. Byron's verse replaces a simple placeholder I'd inserted at the time, filler … Continue reading In the Pathless Woods: Revising

Finding Your Market

This video is about examining your manuscript to find its best market opportunity. For me the process took ten years, failed representation, and an entire rewrite. But it was worth it. https://youtu.be/cQgAu7OX0UU In this segment from my interview with Matthew Whiteside, I share lessons learned from the process of bringing out my first novel. Hint: … Continue reading Finding Your Market

Lousy Book Covers

This clip from my interview with Matthew Whiteside explores the marketing side of writing books, and why a title like Two Pumps for the Body Man can be a real challenge to promote. The cover didn't help, not even when it was featured on a website called LousyBookCovers(dot)com (their snark goes to 11...). Check the design … Continue reading Lousy Book Covers

A BenEast FilmFirst Production

This week I enjoyed a 30-minute interview with Matthew Whiteside, head impresario at Uniweb Productions. The man's doing a lot for indie writers, pumping out interview after interview exploring the challenges we face, the inspirations that drive us, and the rewards that come with pursuing our creative demons. He even inspired me to put up … Continue reading A BenEast FilmFirst Production

Sez the Man with No Lips

I have too much to say about this experience, so I'll just pop it up here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvIQ6eEYegY&feature=youtu.be A few days ago I sat down to chat with Matt Whiteside and only recently looked at the results. He's a sharp guy with a great heart and an ambitious idea: help other writers. He's fun and funny … Continue reading Sez the Man with No Lips

Re-Blogging: Notes from the Slush Pile: Endings — Al Kratz

This is where it all ends. This is the opening lyric to the Cult’s 1989 album Sonic Temple. I remember it like it was yesterday. Standing in my dorm room, unwrapping it to the excitement of getting to hear something new, the first few guitar riffs unrolling to Ian Astbury announcing as much as singing […] … Continue reading Re-Blogging: Notes from the Slush Pile: Endings — Al Kratz