Writing and Casablanca.

My wife and I watched the 1942 classic Casablancaa few nights ago. It had been over a dozen years since I had seen it, and it was the first time for my wife. All I have to say is that the movie is classic for a reason, and that it gets better with each viewing. […]

via Casablanca: What a Damn Near Perfect Movie Can Teach About Writing — Amatopia

Experimenting with Steemit

Steemit seems to be all the rage with a certain subsection of the new pulprev crowd, so I’ve decided to experiment with some of my older stories. While I’m not particularly convinced about the implementation and the use of posting stories on Steemit the concept is intriguing. Sadly the interface is ugly, clunky, and somewhat confusing.

Adobe Spark (1)

I’m friendly to the idea that people that post on social media, especially if it’s interesting self-generated original content, should be compensated. I’m very into the idea of decentralized self-publishing and multiple independent methods of distribution for entertainment. So overall I think this is an experiment in getting out my work to readers using a different method. I hope to reach a few new readers.

Read, follow, upvote, and comment on A Tiger in the Garden on Steemit!

The Writer’s Persona

Yesterday I read Kevyn’s post on Jack Vance, what would have been his 100th birthday, and how he kept fandom at arm’s length. Vance’s approach to fandom struck a nerve bringing to forward a topic I have been giving a lot of thought to lately. How the modern writer interacts with readers and colleagues.

J R R Tolkien
Tolkien a gentleman writer and true professional.


The 21st century and the internet opened the world of the writer to the public. What was once a mysterious profession where fans interacted with authors through letters or the editorial section of magazines is now wide open to daily blog updates and minute by minute Twitter updates. While this can be fantastic for drumming up a fan base I’m starting to feel that the constant reality show style interaction is detrimental.

“The less a writer discusses his work – and himself – the better. The master chef slaughters no chickens in the dining room; the doctor writes prescriptions in Latin; the magician hides his hinges, mirrors and trapdoors with the utmost care.” Vance in the afterword to “The Bagful of Dreams” The Jack Vance Treasury (2007) 

The constant classless over sharing of the personal and political shatters the mystique and magic of the writer. Watching grown men and women sling insults at each other over plastic rockets and popularity contests is pathetic. Reading screeds by men, who are often fathers of adult children, filled with self-deprecating snark that would embarrass a thirteen-year-old cheer leader disgusts me. Most of all advertising by attacking fellow writers is embarrassing and brings down our entire profession.

The era of wearing sweatpants and pajamas out in public is over and now it’s beyond time that the era of the forty-something writer snarking like a teenager on AOL goes into the dumpster of history. Put the cat pictures away, throw out that milkshake stained t-shirt, potbellied ironic man-children, and wannabee manic-pixies are out.

It’s time we embrace professionalism and respect, presenting ourselves with the proper tact and manner befitting our profession.

Review of Storyhack #0

Storyhack, issue zero On the Fourth of July, I feel it’s my patriotic duty to write another Four Apes intro story: Traffic around the Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington DC slows to a crawl, as drivers gawk at the Eight Apes on the sidewalk outside. Samantha looks into my eyes. “We don’t have to go […]

via Magazine: Storyhack, issue zero — Planetary Defense Command

A tough one…

About half an hour ago I finally submitted my story to Misha’s 21st Century Anthology. Writing it was quite the experience. Most of it not really positive but overall quite eye opening.

It took me two whole months to write and submit this story. Realistically much less than that because what I submitted was the final product of numerous false starts and abandoned projects. But that’s beside the point, taking two months to submit a pulp story falls squarely in the Fail camp.

I reflected on what caused me to spiral into such a negative mood, where I just didn’t feel like writing at all and identified two issues. First, I don’t like writing in the present world. I don’t like urban fantasy very much and as soon as you add the fantastic to a modern day story it leans towards the UF subgenre. I prefer writing in fantasy or fantasy-tinged historical settings, filled with mysticism and wonder. Writing in the 21st century made it very hard for me to grasp that feeling. pulp-fiction-coffee

The second issue is that I suck at writing to spec. I told myself I would write for this submission becoming over-focused to the point where I felt guilty when not working on this story. I write the best when I scatter around between stories, following whatever mood and idea I’m currently into then matching my story to submission guidelines instead of writing for the guideline.

I think from now on I’m going to write. If one of my stories matches what a submission wants I will send it. But writing with a magazine or anthology in mind does not suit me.

But now that I actually finished the piece and sent it I feel relieved. I can’t wait to read the final anthology, with or without my story in it.