The Truth About Writers on TV and in the Movies

Last night on Modern Family, a show I love thanks to the entire cast’s impeccable comic timing, regulars Phil and Cameron met a famous novelist on a passenger train. Said novelist, Simon Hastings (played by Simon Templeton, whose real name sounds like a pen name), is writing a mystery novel about a murder on a train, and of course he’s writing … Read More

Thoughts on Clarion, Privilege and Gaiman

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

Inspiration and “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

The Nature of Magic vs Science

Recently best-selling author Dave Farland wrote this article about the cost of magic. It’s an argument I’ve encountered before, and the short version is, everything must have a cost. If you cast a spell, the power has to come from somewhere. It’s the basic Law of the Conservation of Energy, one of the rules that keeps the universe ticking along. In other … Read More

Guest post: Logan Masterson on the Facets of Death

Logan Masterson (that’s not him above) is, like me, a Tennessee writer of speculative fiction. Below he talks about death in fiction, how it affects us, and why it’s important. Facets of Death No, not faces, facets. In fiction. Fictional facets of the very real human experience. Let’s get into that. The Tufa, they have an eye on death, and means … Read More

How everyone, deep down, is “Like Me”

So one time I met Chely Wright. It was around 1998. I worked in a Nashville mall at the Bombay Company, a repulsive chain store that sold overpriced foreign-made furniture and faux artsy knickknacks. I was the assistant manager, and took it as seriously as I did most of my other jobs, which meant that I worked no harder than … Read More

Guest blog: Curious Research and Sightings of the Modern Day Faery

At this year’s Pagan Unity Festival (a.k.a. PUF) I met Kiki Dombrowski, who conducted a workshop on the history and persistence of stories of faerie folk. She was also kind enough to write a guest post for me about this very topic. *** Faery sightings are not so out of the ordinary after all. Tales of real life encounters with … Read More

Guest Post: Touching from a 35-year Distance

April 30 marked the 35-year anniversary of Joy Division’s video for “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” in many ways their most defining, and certainly best-known, song. I discovered their music shortly after the death of singer and lyricist Ian Curtis in 1980, and they’ve been one of my touchstone bands ever since. But I wondered if they were simply a … Read More

Some Thoughts on the Chosen One

There is a concept, a hidden implication, in the original Star Trek series that James T. Kirk might not be unique. He might be merely one of many Starfleet captains out there boldly going, having amazing adventures across the galaxy. After all, the Enterprise is one of a dozen identical starships, and the rest are certainly not sitting in space … Read More

Coming this fall: the ultimate Tufa event

So here’s the big news: On September 18 and 19, 2015, the Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire  in Greenville, SC will present the ultimate Tufa event. For the first time ever you’ll have the music that inspired the Tufa, and the music inspired by the Tufa, at the same place as the guy (me) who writes about the Tufa. “Huh?” you say. … Read More