New Publication

A couple of updates are due here on the blog.

First, my short story Singapore Wept was published in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. The story is short, five or six paragraphs, and worth reading. Very relevant in this age of gun-related violence. If you have the time, hop over to it and give it a quick read. Also, every time you click on the link, it helps the spider bots of the internet with searches related to my name =).  Read more

Revision Tip: Write it Twice. Or Three Times. Or Ten.

I once saw a video by Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, where among other things he talked about his revision process and how he typed his story over and over. That moment was special for me. Angels didn’t sing or anything, but it was the first time I had ever run across another author who revised the same way I did.

When I came to the end of my Ashborne drafts, I printed them out. Then I proceeded to type them in again–line by line. I worked on the language a little more. saw the story in a new light. I encountered each page and each scene as if I were discovering it anew day by day. Read more

Beta-Reading Worksheet

What did you think?
What did you think?

If you’ve already self-published (or plan to self-publish) a novel, you’ve probably heard of a thing called beta readers. Beta readers are those wonderful readers who get a chance to read your novel before it goes to the masses and tell you what they think about it. Yay!

Since the dawn of self-publishing, different folks have had different ideas of what a beta reader is. Some authors expect the reader to go through line by line and note every inconsistency (just so we’re clear, that’s part of a developmental edit, not a beta read, and can be entrusted to a beta reader, or entrusted to someone who does it for a living, it’s a personal call). Others want the reader to tell them the story is great! (We all secretly want that)

Some authors want someone who could be called their ideal reader to beta read their novel. They don’t want another author to read their book, they want a reader to read their book. Makes sense. Whatever feedback the reader provides is close to any feedback the general public provides. Of course, the spectrum of readers out there is as wide as the Sahara Desert, but I can definitely see the benefits of this strategy. Let’s face it, sometimes, as authors, we can complicate the heck out of things. Having a reader involved might be just what we need. We’re getting general feedback, though.

They might say things like: Read more

More than Death

The 30th Day of Ripening Season, 342 years After Mourning

The wind that blows through the plague-ridden streets of Aramas carries more than death—it carries defeat. I have walked under its yoke for far too long. It circles the city, caressing the stone walls like a jealous lover, refusing to leave. Yet as I stepped through the tall grass outside the city gates, a wave of renewal washed over me, despite the dead goats along the riverbank. Rotting carcasses are easier to ignore, I discovered, when they are not piled up in mounds. While the sun baked away the agony I have stubbornly cleaved to my soul, the ghost of remembrance danced around me and I almost remembered a time, not so long ago, when I walked these paths for meditation and enlightenment—when death was nothing more than a distant and unwelcome guest. Read more

Dying Empty

Last Thursday I ran across an amazing podcast from Joanna Penn and Todd Henry.

It began with two little words:

Die Empty.

Contrary to the photo, it’s not as creepy as it sounds. What’s it all about? Turns out, the graveyard is the most valuable place in the world. Not the Louvre, a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, or the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The cemetery is worth more than all of those places. Why? They contain all the unwritten novels, unpainted masterpieces, unwritten operas, and millions of other things left undone that people like you and me carried around inside of us. Read more

Starvation

The 27th Day of Ripening Season, 342 years After Mourning

We are starving. The storerooms are empty, the grain all but vanished.  The larders are filled with dust, while the abandoned gardens wither under a sticky heat. It is not as if there is a shortage of food. Wheat stretches toward the sky, not yet waving under heavy heads, but the barley, ready for harvest, lies forgotten and in the forest, the berries have colored waiting for hands that will never come. Outside the city gates, cows and goats roam untethered. And in the fields . . .  in the fields a banquet of greens ripens for midnight crows, while the farmhands quiver with disease on the stone floors of a temple far away from their beloved soil. Read more

Sofie’s Plea

The 21st day of Ripening Season, 342 years After Mourning

When the snows melted and the days became longer, when we cast off our heavy winter cloaks and the heady smells of the first blossoms drifted in from the windows, we had twenty-four acolytes. In addition to the youngsters, we had ten priests, three priestesses and one Cardinal all roaming the halls and serving the people of Aramas.

Before the first victim arrived. The days are shortening now. Ripening season is halfway over, and we have three acolytes, four priests, one priestess and one Cardinal.  Read more

Games and Mercy

The 17th day of Ripening Season, 342 years After Mourning

Hope dwindles further with each soul that passes. We lost fourteen today: seven men, three women and four children. Their names have been recorded in the ledger. I have given young Barly the unwelcome task of carting them away before the heat sours them. A hard task for a ten-year-old boy, Sisters forgive me, but there are so few of us who remain. I had no choice. I can only hope they grant him mercy in his grief. Should he see his mother’s face on each corpse, I pray his tears might blind him to the memory of her sunken cheeks and lifeless eyes. Read more