No More Heroines


I don’t like heroines. If you’re familiar with my work, you should immediately know I mean the word heroine, not the concept of the female protagonist. I’ve written one fantasy novel (The Hum and the Shiver) and a series of short stories (The Firefly Witch) with strong, tough female main characters, and I try to make the women in my Eddie … Read More

Steam from manure: working with details


Recently on Facebook, fan Claudia Tucker asked me, “How do you decide what bits are superfluous even if it sets the ambience of the scene?” Every writer’s approach, methods and habits are different, so keep that in mind when I describe mine. We all deal with the same issues, but ultimately there’s no right or wrong way to achieve these … Read More

Guest blog: Melissa Olson, author of Trail of Dead

Longtime readers of this blog will remember Melissa Olson from our Indy Challenge blog swap. She’s visiting again to talk about her new novel, Trail of Dead, the follow-up to her debut, Dead Spots. At the end of the post, find out how to win a signed copy of Trail of Dead. ***** Hello, and welcome to my Trail of Dead … Read More

Nurturing creativity and doing a job of work


Last week, stuck for ideas for upcoming blog posts, I put out the call for questions from fans. I got this one from poet Eileen Sullivan: “In what ways do you think you nurtured your creativity as a child, wittingly or not? What remains of that life in your and your work? And in what ways do you seek to … Read More

Interview: filmmaker Lisa Stock

Filmmaker Lisa Stock

When it was announced a few years ago that Joss Whedon would be doing the new Wonder Woman movie, I was of the unpopular opinion that he was dead wrong for it. My main reason was that, in all the shows he’s produced and scripts he’s written, he has yet to show he can write about anything other than boys … Read More

Writer’s Day #9: C2E2 report

writer's day graphic

  In my latest Writer’s Day video, I share some of my experiences at C2E2 in Chicago, by far the biggest convention I’ve ever attended.   [media url=””]  

When to Plan and When to Pants


In the commentary on her video collection, Stevie Nicks says that the vocal on her hit “I Can’t Wait” is the first take, and that she knew she nailed it as soon as she finished. Bob Seger was called in at the last minute to record “Shakedown” when Glenn Frey got laryngitis; he also rewrote the lyrics, and got his … Read More

I will not say I will not read your f*cking (manu)script


WARNING: This post contains strong language. It actually has to, because…well, you’ll see. Every so often, someone posts a link to this, a 2009 article by screenwriter Josh Olson bemoaning the fact that struggling writers ask him to read their work. If you haven’t, take a minute and read it. I’ll wait. I’ll say this up front: if this article, in … Read More

The Girl on the Cover

Jane from cover

This post is about cover art, and specifically the way characters are portrayed in it. I want to say up front, I’m not being critical of my own covers. A cover is designed to make potential readers check out the book; once they do, it becomes the writer’s responsibility to keep them interested. It goes without saying that often the … Read More

Guest blog: Cyrus Webb on interviewing authors

Radio host Cyrus Webb

I’ve been a guest on the Conversations online radio show twice, and both times have been a blast. Host Cyrus Webb interviews not only authors but musicians, sports figures, musicians and anyone he finds interesting. I asked him to write a bit about what makes a good guest, and how an author should prepare for a radio interview. *** Getting a … Read More