Friday, October 2, 2015


So, in continuing with the "coming out of hibernation" analogy, here's my current state.  Buttons have been pushed.  Carbonite has begun to heat up, or get irritated, or whatever is happening up there.  The clock is ticking.  Can you hear it?  Things are about to change.  It's time to pick up some momentum.  It's time to get things rolling.

I'm looking forward to sharing some big news with everyone next week.  If you're into writing and have aspirations of becoming published, share this blog with a friend.  There will be lots of great information about that subject coming soon.

There will also be a sweaty guy falling out of a slab of grey goo onto a dusty floor.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

He Survived. And He's in Perfect Hibernation.

Have you ever felt stuck at a certain point in your life?  All of your efforts and exertion have been for naught?  Been double crossed by a certain City Administrator and frozen in a block of carbonite just when it looked like things were going to started getting good?

As is evident from my infrequent posts, I've been in a state of suspended animation lately.  Not in every aspect of my life.  In many arenas, things have been moving ahead full steam.  But in my efforts to become a published author, things have been stagnant for a few months now.

Tomorrow, that may change.  Princess Leia has just infiltrated Jabba's palace.  If all goes according to plan, I'll be hoping behind the controls of my beloved ship tomorrow and shooting into hyperspace toward my next adventure.

The other option is that I will be tossed into the Sarlacc Pit.

It's always the way, isn't it?

I look forward to letting everyone know how things turned out (and what even happened).  The amazing image above is a shot of my actual birthday cake.  Today is my birthday!  It was wonderful, and Han was delicious.  I received all the love and gifts I could possibly hope for from friends and family, but like Ralphie, I'm still poking around for one last gift that I've been asking for as long as I can remember. 

I hope you will all stop by again to see me shoot my eye out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Not a Review of GO SET A WATCHMAN

It's heeeerre.

I really hate it when people comment on something like a book or movie when they haven't even seen or read it themselves.  And reviews are so subjective, inevitably influenced by the writer's own tastes or outlook on life.  But I was already worried about this "sequel" to arguably the most beloved American novel in history from the get go.  You know what they say.  "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."  What were the odds that another novel as inspiring as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD existed out there, undiscovered in the world, by the nation's most reclusive and least prolific author?  

It would seem the odds remain extremely low.

The consensus appears to be that this novel is a first (and rejected) draft of TKAM.  A draft that showed promise mostly in the flashback scenes of Scout's youth.  As the story goes, Harper Lee's editor helped nudge the author to a seemingly massive rewrite that changed just about everything this original draft was into the classic so many know and love.  My books have first drafts also (and I'm not comparing myself to Harper Lee), but my first drafts aren't good.  Getting a story down in its initial form is one of my least favorite parts of writing because, invariably, it's going to pretty much suck.  

You should have seen the first draft of this article.  Barely readable.  

I suspect this novel is a like the thing Edison made just before he managed to cobble together the light bulb.  Probably some shadows of the greatness to come, but ultimately not something anyone should rely on to turn night into day.

Not wanting to spoil anything for those of you who plan to read this book, let me just warn you:  Based on what I've read about it, get ready to be disillusioned.  Some may feel the story arc of this book is a welcome departure from the idealistic themes of the original.  I would say, "The original novel is no fairy tale itself."  But at least there is hope, and heroes, and a feeling that mankind's better inclinations will eventually win the day. 

Having written a book that I hold dear in my heart, I feel I owe Ms. Harper Lee some allegiance in this pivotal moment in her career as a writer.  There are certain authors and even bands that when they release something, I buy it, sight unseen.  Doesn't matter what I've heard about it, I just get it, to support the artists who have provided me in the past with art that enriched my life and broadened my view of the world around me.  

As for Ms. Lee, I will support her the best way I know how.  I will not read GO SET A WATCHMAN, and hopefully by doing so, preserve, at least for myself, the impact of one of the greatest novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Goodreads Review - The Husband's Secret

The Husband's SecretThe Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a masterfully crafted story. So often, the little clues and connecting points in the first part of the book feel obvious and wedged in, but by the end, everything had a purpose and felt right at home where you discovered it. The way the three main character's stories dovetailed was so natural and believable. This really is three stories in one. Unlike so other books that use this storytelling device, I never found myself bored with one of the three. They all held my attention equally, with a minor exception near the end when a critical moment in two of the stories finally developed. Only one minor complaint is the epilogue. While interesting, I found it a little heavy handed and almost apologetic for some of the edge in the book, but not enough to sour me on any of it. Great read from an author who can fill a story with the minutia and detail of ordinary lives while still keeping you spellbound.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 1, 2014

Goodreads Review - Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book came highly recommended by a friend, and I was not disappointed. It’s a young adult, first love story without false angst. The angst is warranted, purposeful, and understandable. The characters are perfectly unique without being at all cartoony. Eleanor and Park are real people that could easily exist somewhere. Within just a few quick chapters I was heavily invested in both characters. About halfway through the story I reached that critical point: the book had potential for greatness, everything was lining up. Would it make a huge mistake, just finish well, or become one of those stories that will affect you for days? I would say it finished well and stayed with me for a few days. The last fourth of the book moved along like it needed to and kept me up late reading it. And the finish was quick and not drawn out. Without spoiling anything, I will say the ending was satisfying if not as impactful as it had the potential to be.

I really love these two characters equally, which is not that common. Usually one of the two main characters in a book like this comes across as more complete or more relatable, especially when both of them are quite different. In this case, I felt compassion for both Park and Eleanor. Their story did an amazing job of capturing the uncertain, awkward, exhilarating first pangs of new love.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

#Mywritingprocess Blog Tour

My friend Dan Koboldt asked me to answer four questions as a part of the #Mywritingprocess Blog Tour.  You can check out his answers on his site at  Dan writes fantasy and science fiction, he works as a research scientist in the field of human genetics and genomics, and he shoots things with a giant bow Katniss style.  Obviously, I said yes right away. 

So here are my answers.  They will rock your world. 

What Am I Working On?
I’m in a super awkward place at the moment.  I feel disconnected from my most recently finished work but not yet connected with my next project.  I’ve started a few stories, gotten a few thousand words into each and stopped.  For me, I have to be really seduced by a story idea before I can fully commit to writing an entire book.  The characters become friends or extensions of myself.  Without that passion for telling their stories, it’s easy to lose interest.  The concept I’m exploring currently is what I like to call Pretty Woman if Gillian Flynn wrote it.  It feels like an idea I could get into, but I’m still gut checking all the themes I want to explore in it to be sure it’s a fully realized concept and not just a lark.

How Does My Work Differ from Others of Its Genre?
Sometimes I worry it differs a little too much at times.  I’ve written YA novels to date.  My first one was pure indulgence on my part, pulling inspiration from some of my favorite stories, books, and movies.  Ultimately, it may have been too many genres at once.  I want to read and write stories that have a little of everything I love in them.  I try to find humor in situations and don’t let my characters take themselves too seriously all the time.  Some YA stories tend to skew toward the melodramatic.  I want the drama in my writing to feel natural, not manufactured.  That usually comes from nurturing a connection between the reader and the characters.

Why Do I Write What I Do?
I find myself having the best time writing when I’m exploring a side of myself that doesn’t get much free rein in the real world.  I think we all have multiple facets to our personalities and only a few of those sides ever get to see the light of day.  It’s also cathartic to research something you wouldn’t necessarily do yourself but that you need to write intelligently about one of your characters doing.  I love to write as an outlet for my creative side.  Writing is a great way to create and share and invent and hopefully inspire.  It can be lonely work at times, but ultimately, the idea is for my work to connect with others.  That’s when I know I’ve written something worthwhile.

How Does My Writing Process Work?
I’ve experimented with different techniques and I think the story I’m writing dictates what method I use.  It starts with an idea, obviously: Some concept you want to inflict on a fictional character to find out what happens to them.  That usually requires some unconscious inspiration.  Once I have that, I work on deciding what kind of story could best explore that concept.  Where would it take place, who would be involved, and most importantly, why do I care about it?  After fleshing out the basic mechanics of the story, I look for opportunities for little twists.  I love something unexpected in the stories I read.  A balance of “I never saw that coming!” and “Of course that had to happen!”  I usually do a chapter outline and try to get the basic pacing laid out, but that is heavily altered as the story is written, and then completely butchered once it’s edited.  Typically, the best parts of my stories are never in the outline, they come about naturally as I discover my characters and understand what they would do in a given situation.     

Tune back in later this week when I'll post the authors I'm passing the baton to in the tour.  This is no way a stalling tactic and was planned all along.  This is to build suspense, not buy me time because I'm way behind on ... well, everything.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Contest for Writers

Check out Chuck Sambuchino's (of Guide to Literary Agents fame) latest contest for authors at This one's for YA manuscripts.  All the dets are there.  Great way to get your work seen!