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Seeing It a New Way

Posted on by Alex in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

In my teen writing class at the Mount Horeb Public Library last week, we segued into discussing Catcher in the Rye, and one of my students made the following observation (which I’m paraphrasing): Some of my friends have said that, since the characters in the book were rich, Holden’s problems weren’t that significant. But in so many other books I’ve read, the problems seem to come out of the poverty and economic situations of the characters, or at least be so …

A True Story of Frog-Gigging and Disappointment

Posted on by Alex in alcohol, biography, children, family, fatherhood, home, memoir, Parenting, tennessee, Uncategorized, west Tennessee | 4 Comments

I wrote the following piece for a memoir class taught by Michelle Wildgen, best-selling author of Bread and Butter and You’re Not You (soon to be a movie starring Hilary Swank). When I was a kid growing up in rural Tennessee, my dad determined that I would follow in his footsteps and leave a trail of dead small animals behind me. We never hunted anything epic, like deer or bear; we went after squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional quail.  And, …

For Halloween, Try EXORCISMUS

Posted on by Alex in movies, reviews | Leave a comment

Every year around Halloween I try to recommend a horror movie you might not have seen, something off the beaten path and all the better for it. You can read previous recommendations here and here. This year, I worried that I wouldn’t find anything. Then I discovered the 2010 film, Exorcismus. No, I can’t explain the title, either. Yes, it’s an exorcism movie, but as far as I know, it’s gibberish. It was also released under the even worse generic title, The …

The Great Rock and Roll Secret

Posted on by Alex in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Suppose the great rock single had flickered over the airways just once, on the night you had passed out in the back seat?  Probably not, but still…rock and roll has always had this sense of possibility.  –Dave Marsh, Born to Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story, page 93 I originally read the above quote in the 1980s, when the first edition of Marsh’s Springsteen book came out.  It’s stuck with me over the intervening decades, and at some level has informed …

Review: The Making of Day of the Dead

Posted on by Alex in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

When I heard there would be a book entirely about the making of George A. Romero’s third zombie movie, Day of the Dead, I was surprised. The movie had not been a financial or critical success at the time, and while its reputation has risen since its 1985 release, it’s still nowhere near as well-known as its predecessors, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Still, it’s one of my favorites, and I was very curious to …

The Manic Pixie Pout-Pout

Posted on by Alex in children, children's books, pop culture, reviews, storytelling, writing, zooey deschanel | 1 Comment

Since I now have another two-year-old, I’m back to reading the simplest books to her at bedtime. Most of these books are innocuous, if occasionally incompetent (i.e., Big Snowman, Little Snowman, a Frozen tie-in book that probably takes longer to read than it did to write). A few are brilliant, such as Room on the Broom. But I’m here to talk about the New York Times bestseller (it says so right there on the cover) The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, and especially …

The Omai Gods: the story behind the story

Posted on by Alex in writers, writing | 1 Comment

One of my favorite and oft-quoted bits of writerly advice comes from novelist/filmmaker Nicholas Meyer: “Art thrives on restriction.” Meaning that if you don’t have enough of something–usually money and/or time–you’re forced to compensate by being creative. Here’s a story that shows how that works, at least for me. I’ve never written steampunk. I honestly don’t even know if it’s a literary genre; it seems more like a fashion statement. Still, it’s certainly prominent right now, and there are even …

Guest post: Charlie Holmberg on Aqua Notes

Posted on by Alex in writers, writing | Leave a comment

Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie Holmberg was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukelele, and owns too many pairs of glasses. Her first novel, The Paper Magician, is now available. Follow her on Twitter for the latest news. *** There are millions of places a writer can go to get an idea: museums, national parks, Wikipedia, …

Talk like a pirate, win a book

Posted on by Alex in Eddie LaCrosse, writing | 39 Comments

So this Friday, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Now that’s something I can really get behind. I love pirates. From The Black Swan to The Sea Hawk, from Raphael Sabatini to William Goldman, from Errol Flynn to Johnny Depp, I dig them all. And not just the fictional ones: I’ve seen Blackbeard’s cannon and Black Sam Bellamy’s bell (that sounds vaguely homoerotic, doesn’t it?). In 2012, I wrote my own pirate novel, Wake of Bloody Angel, …

A Tale of Two Curls

Posted on by Alex in Jennifer Goree, music, Tufa, video trailer, writing | 1 Comment

Sometimes a song inspires a book. Sometimes a book inspires a song. And sometimes–okay, this is the only time I’m aware of this happening–a song inspires a book which inspires a song. There are two wonderful songs out there that share a title with my upcoming novel. Don’t ask me to pick a favorite, because I can’t. But I can tell you the story. First, if you go here, you can read about my introduction to the music of Jennifer …