We All Are Constant Comets
A bronze statue of author Jack London in a vigorous pose juts up at Jack London Square (well, where else would it be?) in Oakland CA. It bears a plaque that bears a quote from Jack that bears repeating.
A Tongue and A Pen: Speaking on Writing
I’ve been asked to speak out loud and in public two times this month, by a couple of quite daring individuals who actually want to hear me say what I think.
How to Build Your Process
If writers were awarded a nickel every time they were asked, “So, what’s your process?”, they could probably retire to a lovely Greek isle and never need to scribble another line in their lives.
An Analog Man Logs In
My early childhood was haunted by a nightmare in which skin on my body progressively thickened till it turned as dense as crocodile hide. Every sensation then proceeded to disappear—I could no longer feel a thing.
NEVER FLY WITH NO WINGMAN
The myth of the solitary artist is exactly that—a myth.
On All Parades Some Rain Must Fall
It’s no use trying to divide life into good and bad parts, into the painful and the pleasurable, or—more palpably—into the stuff you prefer to accept versus that other crap which you feel must be shunned at all costs.
Research at the Gates of Hell
Adolf Hitler sought to cloak his brutal regime in a warm and rosy aura when he mounted the 1936 Olympics.
When You Snooze, You Lose News
“We must remember that we cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation.”
Walk the Path of a Golden-Green Dream
What star guides your course? For me it’s been our sun, always.
How I Built a Posture on Race
My best friend at Sacred Heart Elementary was the school’s Black janitor, named Israel—who went by Izzy.
Why Marathons or Rock Climbs Build Writing Skills
Boredom is a fabulous state of being.
If You Meet a Buddha on the Road
The most truthful comment to be made on religion is that it’s not one thing.
Sex Ed & a Single Seminarian
How may we best tell stories about sex?
My Plot to Plunder Works of John le Carré
Bad poets imitate, good poets steal—there’s your abridged gem of an epigram by T. S. Eliot.
A Deep Dive into Survival
Rubber meets the road in thriller writing when a character’s development starts to force changes upon the plot.
Our Mysterious Ways to Motivate
One of the toughest jobs for a fiction writer is describing human motivation.
Can One Ride a Tsunami—or Write One?
Some events are so singular, they prove quite tough to use in a story.
An Open Road is a Blank Slate
All clichés about U.S. pavement bard Jack Kerouac aside, chasing life along America’s roadways does provide a fine chance to get some good writing done.
To Speak at the Speed of Thought
While a mere prat, a lad of 23 tender years, I chose to accept Lord Buckley as my personal savior.
The Camera as Teacher
Use of a still camera taught me much about how to write.
SO, HOW DO YOUR CHARACTERS GRAB YOU?
It’s been said—and not just by me—that every fictional character must own a grand and lovely stash of personal secrets.
Trip of a Young Man to Indian Territory
When a Native American decides to share his or her medicine, that’s a gift one should never take lightly.
On the Trail of Green Stars
A bronze plaque held aloft in the tail flippers of a harbor seal was a sight that both pleased and startled me.
How to Invent a Catastrophe
Any writer attempting to complete a thriller in our way-wacko year of 2020 had to face a rather high bar.
Agency in Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”
The main thing those two crazy kids in Verona just absolutely had to have was a fair chance to find true love. But they got stymied by their crude, violent, chaotic city. Verona seems, “A town without pity…” as an ol’ American pop tune spins it.
Protocols for Pandemic Promo
You all are quite hep, no doubt, to this term, “early adopter.” Right?
First Chapter of “Came A Horseman,” a New Novel By Paul McHugh
Read the first chapter of “Came A Horseman,” the new book by Paul McHugh
Keep Our Indy Bookstores Alive
Christie Olson Day believes if we can bond with books and bookstores as kids, we’ll blaze a trail to a wellspring of stories that can sustain and nurture us throughout life.
A Healthy Body Can Boost a Writer’s Brain
The strongest prod to fitness I ever got came just as I touched age thirteen.
A License to Ask Questions – My Interview with Tom Hayden
America’s great, homegrown activist-politician Tom Hayden has long been a hero of mine.
Learn to Untie the Tongue
Maybe you’ve heard a bon mot like this: “The secret to public speaking is sincerity. Once you can fake that, the rest is easy.”
One Part Luck to Ten Parts Perseverance
Anyone who can be talked out of it, should be.
The Prose and Cons of Poetry
Poetry’s strengths can be the strengths of all good writing.
My Return to Treasure Island
What could be more ironic than a fabulous bookstore with a paltry selection?
Handing Down a Perfect Sentence
Hemingway’s legacy to us was his bold use of simple declarative sentences.
Use & Abuse of Magic in Writing
Repeal the law of gravity, and it’s no surprise if somebody flies.
Film’s Tremendous Tug on Storytelling
A century-plus of humans viewing cinema has forever altered the ways in which we all perceive and receive our stories. Consequently, that century ought to show some effect on how we craft our stories, too.
The Risky Link Between Ink and Drink
I’d say one of the most hazardous phrases human beings have scrawled is, “In vino, veritas” – which is of course Latin for, “In wine, there is truth.”
A Story’s Foundation: Ground-Proofing!
Antarctica does not have any polar bears. Yet, I felt pleased to discover on a recent voyage that this polar continent does boast a Camille Seaman.
How to Copy-Edit with NO Cussin’!
All writers have some part they loathe about their process.