Getting Down to the Story Quark

computer keyboard

Recently, I had writer’s block. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: he always says there’s no such thing as writer’s block! And that’s true. But what I experienced is the feeling often called writer’s block. And here’s how I addressed it. This particular work-in-progress is a spec effort, so there’s no deadline or contract involved; at this point, I’m just writing … Read More

Interview: the Lucky Nows

The Lucky Nows

The music in the Tufa novels comes from three main sources: classic folk music, modern indie music, and me. By that, I mean that if I can’t find lyrics to quote from in the first two sources, then it falls back on me to create them. I’m under no delusions about being a songwriter, and I don’t necessarily consider my little … Read More

How a Springsteen Bootleg Inspired a Scene in WISP OF A THING

The back cover of the Fire on the Fingertips bootleg, with all the wrong song titles. For reference, they should be; SIDE ONE, Santa Ana, Bishop Danced, Seaside Bar Song; SIDE TWO, Zero and Blind Terry, Thundercrack.

Since today’s my birthday, I thought I’d bring y’all a little somethin’-somethin’: an example of how things end up the way they do in novels, along with an absolutely kick-ass song. It used to be a lot of work being a Bruce Springsteen fan. He notoriously wrote many more songs than he put on his albums, and if you wanted to hear … Read More

The Two Sides of Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway

In Seanan McGuire’s brilliant (and now award-winning) short novel Every Heart a Doorway, teens who’d once escaped reality to various fairytale realms find themselves back in our world, attending a special boarding school to help them re-acclimate to “reality.” They’re all desperate to return to those places where they felt accepted for who and what they were, and one of … Read More

The Idiocies of Genius

Genius-Movie-Poster

Recently I watched Genius, the 2016 film about the relationship between Southern novelist Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and his editor, Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth). There are also cameos by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce) and Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West). The moral of the story: genius comes in different packages, and sometimes it isn’t recognized until it’s too late. Or something. I … Read More

The Point of the End of the Tour

Jesse Eisenberg (David Lipsky) and Jason Segel (David Foster Wallace

The End of the Tour is a film adapted from the memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, by David Lipsky. It begins with news of Wallace’s suicide* reaching Lipsky, who then digs out his audio tapes from the five days he spent with Wallace at the end of his author’s tour … Read More

Across the same river with The Idylls of the Queen

Idylls of the Queen

Alice Walker wrote The Same River Twice about the process of turning her novel The Color Purple into a movie. The title itself is a paraphrase of the philosopher Heraclitus, and is more fully translated as, “You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing on.” In 2011, I wrote Dark Jenny, the third in my Eddie … Read More

The Truth About Writers on TV and in the Movies

Modern Family Crazy Train

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

A Response to the Lesbian Death Trope

Lexa from the 100

I don’t watch A Game of Thrones. Although it may be, as Ian McShane says, merely “tits and dragons,” it’s also a show that prides itself on killing off characters with no warning, no build-up, and no apparent reason. That’s too close to real life for me, as I explained here back in 2012. I also don’t watch The 100. … Read More

Writing Novels and Novellas in the Same Series

My friend Deborah Blake has just released her latest “Baba Yaga” novel, Wickedly Powerful.  Last month, she also released a novella in the same series, Wickedly Ever After. Here she explains the challenge of writing different types of stories in the same series. And leave a comment for a chance to win a signed book! Someone asked me in an interview recently what … Read More