Publication vs Glory

When I feel lonely in my writing I turn for companionship to John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. The title provides added comfort, referring to Gardner's concise review of our trade as “Notes on Craft for Young Writers," implying that those who should benefit from it—and I benefit from it every time I open it up—are … Continue reading Publication vs Glory

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

The Webnovel

Distraction, or possibility? After a few weeks mulling and several hours research, I'd say it's the former over the latter. But I'm open to hearing about the experience of others. I've already published my thoughts about Wattpad -- Library, Roller Rink, or Click Farm? -- and despite a few sensible comments by experienced authors who view … Continue reading The Webnovel

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

The Non-Business Plan

Fellow blogger and author C.S. Boyack found the right word to describe what many might otherwise call a New Year's resolution (he wisely disavows the concept). Rather, Boyack puts forward a 'business plan' for the year ahead---which platforms he'll look to and why, beta readers and critique groups, ideas for the next narrative, etc. With … Continue reading The Non-Business Plan

Idling through the Shut Down

Revisiting publication credits to stimulate and inspire 2019 projects. I'd like to make it a year of broader platforms with more non-fiction. The days ahead, if the Grinches in DC keep Grinching, might provide both the means and the need to fulfill that prospect. Non-fiction The Card from Kabul---The Foreign Service Journal May 2018 Transition Brief … Continue reading Idling through the Shut Down

Writing for Children

HarperCollins India, Avid Learning, and Mumbai children's book promoter Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala put together an informative workshop on writing children's literature this weekend. As I begin the search for a home to publish my own middle grade novels, I thought I'd confirm my take on the genre with people who actually know what they're talking about. A … Continue reading Writing for Children

Opening Day

MLB opens today. With the game on my mind, I revisit how a small deformity of mine became an asset in fiction for the narrator---an all star pitcher---of my first published story. My thumb, badly slashed on New Years Eve by the broken neck of a champagne bottle, never healed properly. After surgery to reconnect … Continue reading Opening Day

When Publishing Was Hard

I tailor-made an essay for an in-house blog last month. Labored over 500 words and thought it a shoe-in. But they passed. The rejection would've stung if I thought the piece was lousy. This was for a blog, but the rejection didn't hurt: I don't submit rubbish, though I may write it. I knew the piece … Continue reading When Publishing Was Hard

Walden in Africa & Other Diplomatic Readings

Among the 53 titles compiled in this Month's Foreign Service Journal is Dan Whitman's Answer Coming Soon. Whatever else it provides to those who read it, Answer undeniably will provide this: a reflection on the power of books. The power is especially profound for those who spend their lives in places where electricity can be spotty … Continue reading Walden in Africa & Other Diplomatic Readings