When to Plan and When to Pants

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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

Available now: Hurricane Sandy benefit anthology

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  The Hurricane Sandy benefit anthology Triumph Over Tragedy is now available.  It includes 41 stories for $6.99  (one of which, “Wrap,” is by me), so it’s basically only 18 cents a story.  And all the proceeds go to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. It’s available for the Kindle here, and the Nook here.

You write like a girl (or boy)

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  Today, instead of my own blog post, I want to redirect you to my friend Teresa Frohock.  For the last two weeks she’s been conducting an interesting experiment in which I and several other authors submitted short pieces of original fiction under a genderless pseudonym (i.e., mine was T.J. Breckenridge) to test readers’ ability to identify a writer’s gender … Read More

Response to the NYT: Has Fiction Lost Its Faith?

Illustration from Paul Elie's NYT essay.

Recently in the New York Times, writer and editor Paul Elie bemoaned the lack of depictions of Christian faith in modern fiction. He trotted out numerous examples of past masters (Flannery O’Connor, Anthony Burgess, etc.) and then mentions how current literary novelists simply don’t, apparently, have faith in Christianity. They don’t depict it because they don’t believe it. In part, he … Read More

The Blurring of Lines

The C-in-C back when we were full-time co-workers.

Recently, while reading the Janet Sternburg-edited collection The Writer on Her Work, I had an unexpected epiphany (I know, epiphanies are always unexpected, but work with me). It was the realization that my life in 2012 is almost exactly Anne Tyler’s in 1980.   Tyler, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Breathing Lessons and The Accidental Tourist, contributed the book’s first … Read More

Writer’s Day #7: A walk through the world of pirates

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  For this edition of The Writer’s Day, I share this summer’s visit to the Whydah exhibit, featuring artifacts from the only confirmed pirate ship so far recovered. [media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpF8DNRyR1w”]

Rant: the high cost of low quality

The new "Django," "unchained" from originality.

Last night, the wife and I saw Skyfall. I’ve seen every James Bond movie in a real movie theater since Live and Let Die, so my streak continues. I thought Skyfall was an adequate spy thriller and action film, but not much of a James Bond movie. Perhaps, given how this one ends, the next one will be more of … Read More

The Dickens, I Say

The first edition of Dickens' masterpiece

The most famous Christmas story, besides the Biblical one, is without a doubt A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens distilled the holiday spirit down to its essence with his tale of the miserly Scrooge who reforms his ways just in time for Christmas dinner. I love reading the actual story at Christmas, and watching my favorite* film version: [media url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbaa-T5wSE8″] Yet … Read More

The Next Big Thing blog tour

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My friend from the Heroic Fiction League on Facebook, Violette Malan, graciously invited me to participate in The Next Big Thing blog series. Each author answers the same set of questions, and passes them on to five more authors, who post their answers the following week and pass them on to five more authors, and so forth. You’ll find Violette’s … Read More

Writer’s Day #6

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  The is the sixth in a series of videos showing how a typical writer (i.e., me) spends his day.  But this one is a special edition, shot on location in…well, you’ll have to watch and see. [media url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQaEIkBGVXI&feature=plcp”]