The Secrets of Writing Action Scenes

Back in 1991, Timothy Zahn rejuvenated the Star Wars franchise with Heir to the Empire, the first new, non-comic Star Wars tale since the end of the first trilogy. Like every SW fan, I devoured it, but I remember thinking that although Zahn nailed the characters, he totally blew the battle scenes. The reason was simple: what takes seconds to … Read More

Tropology: Heroes and Girlfriends

"YOLO, Odysseus. YOLO."

It’s a common trope in novel series that the tough-guy hero who solves mysteries and kicks ass will get a new love interest each time out. The gold standard, of course, is James Bond, who often gets several new women in every book or movie. But it goes all the way back to The Odyssey, in which Odysseus manages to … Read More

Guest blog: Melissa Banigan on new anthology

advice13

Author and friend Melissa Banigan is creating an amazing anthology called Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self. I’ve invited her to talk about it here, and at the end is information about how you can contribute.–A.B. For many months, I’ve veered away from writing adult and middle grade fiction dystopian and fantasy novels to focus on editing an anthology of non-fiction … Read More

Book Review: Belushi a Biography

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A lot of people probably don’t remember John Belushi, but he accomplished the rare trifecta of simultaneously having the number one TV show (“Saturday Night Live”), number one movie (National Lampoon’s Animal House) and number one album (“Briefcase Full of Blues” by the Blues Brothers). He remains a unique figure in American popular culture, both for the way he lived … Read More

Duck Dynasty and the Quack of Hypocrisy

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field …. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I … Read More

Announcing Linda Fontana and T.S. Bunch

  First, a little personal history. My late brother hated hunting. In the early 70s, after he returned from serving in Vietnam, he wrote an op-ed piece for the Springfield, MO newspaper criticizing hunting, specifically deer hunting. This caused some friction with my dad, who was a dedicated hunter, although of much smaller things (mostly squirrels, rabbits and geese). I’m … Read More

New novel: Sword Sisters

Art by Xing Xin

So my latest novel, Sword Sisters, is about to be released. If you’ve been following me, you’ve seen me post about co-writing a prequel to the film The Legend of the Red Reaper with that movie’s writer/director/star, Tara Cardinal. You can read about my motivation for doing so here. And now, it’s done. Sword Sisters: A Red Reaper Novel is … Read More

Happy birthday, Joseph Conrad!

405px-Joseph_Conrad

  Today, one hundred and fifty-six years ago, Joseph Conrad was born in Russia. He was Polish, but became a nationalized British subject in 1886. In 1899, his masterpiece Heart of Darkness first appeared in print, serialized in a British magazine. There’s a simple, almost unbelievable fact hidden in the above paragraph. Conrad was Polish, did not learn English until … Read More

How Have Things Changed?

This is what my desk looks like as I write this blog post.

A while back, fan Keith Johnson asked a deceptively simple question: “How has your writing changed from your first book to the last one?” As I’ve explained elsewhere, my first published novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde, was an idea I’d nursed from 1980 to its publication in 2007. My second novel, Blood Groove, as well as my most recent, Wisp of … Read More

How Long Should a Series Run?

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My friend (and fan) Richard Garrison asked me, “Kevin Smith of Clerks fame has stopped making movies, claiming the ‘tank was empty.’ A lot of writers continue a series well past it’s arc in some cases to meet reader demands, in some cases to pay the bills. When you start a series, do you see the end of the arc, … Read More