Cube Farm

BOGIE, or Why I Wrote Patchworks My second novel addresses gun violence in America. It didn’t start out that way. Patchworks' protagonist, a millennial grad student interning for peanuts within a government bureaucracy, didn’t appear until several months into writing. And, angry as I felt to see America shredded over and over again by episodes of massive … Continue reading Cube Farm

Mail Call—Trump-Sized Satire

Oh happy day! New books arrived for review, including one unexpected. Thanks to a tip from writing coach, author, and blogger Marylee MacDonald and literary website Dactyl Review I find myself in possession of not one but TWO books courtesy of author U.R. Bowie. The first looks like a novel of the most ridiculous order for … Continue reading Mail Call—Trump-Sized Satire

For All You Novelists

Creative writing is a walk along a fine line. That line divides the seen and the unseen, the knowable and the unknown, the past and the future, cause and effect. Sanity and madness. Creative writers tread by feel to bridge the one and the other. For some the means is poetry. For others, memoir, essay, … Continue reading For All You Novelists

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

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

Essential Non-Essential

Shutdown 2018 continues unabated, and so do excerpts from life at the  government's Bureau of Government Intelligence and Execution---better known as BOGIE. What happens when DC's 'Fed Buffet' closes its doors---and its payroll---on the public servants who work to prevent  America's next tragedy? Furloughed, you say? Is this what you signed up for? "How do you arrive at … Continue reading Essential Non-Essential

Shutdown Chores

Week one of Government Shutdown 2018 comes to an end, bringing to mind the plot of Patchworks. So why not run a few excerpts from Chapter 12, in which DC's 'Fed Buffet' closes its doors---and its payroll---on a mix of kindly public servants who only wanted to prevent the next great American tragedy. Government intern … Continue reading Shutdown Chores