A Response to the Lesbian Death Trope

Lexa from the 100

I don’t watch A Game of Thrones. Although it may be, as Ian McShane says, merely “tits and dragons,” it’s also a show that prides itself on killing off characters with no warning, no build-up, and no apparent reason. That’s too close to real life for me, as I explained here back in 2012. I also don’t watch The 100. … Read More

Writing Novels and Novellas in the Same Series

My friend Deborah Blake has just released her latest “Baba Yaga” novel, Wickedly Powerful.  Last month, she also released a novella in the same series, Wickedly Ever After. Here she explains the challenge of writing different types of stories in the same series. And leave a comment for a chance to win a signed book! Someone asked me in an interview recently what … Read More

Thoughts on the X-Files, Doctor Who, and Sherlock

the-x-files reboot

When I heard that Steven Moffat is leaving Doctor Who, my first thought was, “Finally.” Of course, he still gets a whole last season to ruin what was once one of my favorite shows, but much like Scott Walker as governor here in Wisconsin, we can only hope his successor will be able to put things back like they were. … Read More

Thoughts on Clarion, Privilege and Gaiman

computer keyboard

So Neil Gaiman—a writer whose success and public image make him a hero to many aspiring writers—tweeted this: It got noticed. Clarion is a workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers, taught by successful established authors in those fields. Its also expensive, long (five to six weeks), and so beyond the reach of a great many aspiring authors. To quote … Read More

Sherlock, by Decree

sherlock-ab

I’m not a hardcore Sherlockian, but I am a fan. I first came to the great detective through a comic book adaptation of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” and followed that to the original stories. Since at the time they were still under copyright, I was spared the plethora of half-assed pastiches we’re now awash in; the only non-Doyle story … Read More

Guest blog: Mehitobel Wilson on the Blue Alice

Blue Alice 1

Way back in the last century, when the Internet was still shiny, Mehitobel Wilson became one of my earliest online friends. She’s a great writer (the first story of hers that I read began, “Someone was fucking with the pigeons.”), and she’s just finished a new novella, Last Night at the Blue Alice. I asked her to write a little bit about her … Read More

Inspiration and “Copperhead Road”

Copperhead_road

When I teach writing classes, I often play the song “Copperhead Road,” by Steve Earle for the students. If you don’t know it, here’s the video.   When it’s over, I point out what makes the song so extraordinary. It tells the story of three generations of men named Conlee* Pedimore; grandfather was a moonshiner, father was a bootlegger, and … Read More

Guest Post: Nicole Winters on Writing for Teens

Jock and the Fat Chick cover

My friend Nicole Winters has a new novel, The Jock and the Fat Chick, coming out on October 13. She’s been kind enough to talk about the challenge of writing for contemporary teens in their rapidly-updating world. *** Writing for teens in an ever-changing environment; It’s not as scary as you may think You know that saying, “The more things change, … Read More

Review: Epitaph, a novel of the OK Corral

OK Corral sign

I loved, unreservedly, Mary Doria Russell’s 2012 novel Doc, about the life of Doc Holliday before the infamous events of the OK Corral in Tombstone, AZ. I was just familiar enough with both the history and mythology of the story to really appreciate the way she wove them together. When I saw she’d written a follow-up, Epitaph—subtitled A Novel of … Read More

A Couple of More Questions on Writing

Editorial assistant Sophie

Here are some more questions from readers, with the same caveat at last week: my answers describe my process, which may be totally different from yours. Neither is “right”; what matters is what works for you. From Donald Kirby: When you have two openings that appeal equally, how do you choose? That actually happened to me on Long Black Curl. I wanted … Read More