What Does Revising Look Like?

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  The photo above is a page from the in-progress Red Reaper novel I’m writing with Tara Cardinal. The print text* is the first draft. All the notes are corrections for the second draft (or first revision, if you prefer). This passage had some interesting challenges. Tara wrote it before she turned it over to me. Since this story is … Read More

Interview: Vanessa Horrocks, writer/director of Her Tragedy

I met Vanessa Magowan Horrocks at TeslaCon three years ago, at a seminar she gave on homegrown filmmaking. She was sharp, dedicated and had a clear artistic vision, and listening to her describe the travails of independent film production, I also realized she was funny and entertaining. So when I heard she was financing a new feature film through IndieGoGo, … Read More

Rant: Back Cover Text Peeves

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  I think it’s important for a writer to read outside his or her own genre, so that their work doesn’t sound like everyone else’s. So I’m always on the lookout for something, which means I read a lot of back cover text, searching for that elusive spark of interest. I understand the purpose of those descriptive blurbs: to tell … Read More

Guest Blog: Jennifer Thomas on Balancing Art and Parenting

Jennifer Thomas is an award-winning pianist, composer and performer. In 2012 alone, she was nominated for thirteen various award, winning five. She is also, like me, the parent of two small boys. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on balancing an artistic career with the demands of parenthood. *** When I was a little girl, I had dreams … Read More

Revealing a New Project: the Red Reaper

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Back in November of 2009, I stumbled across a teaser trailer for the fantasy film, The Legend of the Red Reaper. It promised to be an action-adventure fantasy, and starred an actress I’d never heard of at the time, Tara Cardinal. As I watched the trailer, I realized that whatever the standard fantasy tropes on display, this was also something new and … Read More

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