November 28, 2015

Fiction Writers Should Be Heard Not Seen

The modern aesthetic is for fiction authors to be invisible. That’s why so many novels are written from a close third or first person point of view. Early novelists often jump into the middle of their stories for short asides or long dissertations, but that style is long gone and today’s writers need to remove the last vestiges of their presence from their stories. Writers should be heard and not seen. Examples of where this issue needs to be addressed follow. Let’s start with chapter headings. Cute or even informative chapter headings should be dispensed with. They remind the reader that there’s an author telling this story and s/he wants you to know the theme of this chapter is “Madeline […]
November 21, 2015

Round One Goes to this Writer

Okay. Maybe the analogy doesn’t quite fit, but ask any writer and they’ll tell you some days feel like you’re in a boxing ring with an opponent who hits below the belt. So, when you make it through a round, it’s time to blow your horn. Round One for me is finishing the first draft of my current novel. Manchurian Candidate meets Mission Impossible is its working title because I haven’t come up with one that fits. MCmMI is another thriller. It currently runs about 75,000 words or 300 double-spaced pages, and is version 11. That’s right, version 11. Set aside the notion that writers are able to produce smooth, error free prose right to the printed page. Stories evolve […]
November 7, 2015

I review Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me, which is structured as a letter to his fifteen year old son by Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a rejection of and an indictment of the United States––its origins, its history, its people. To that end it demands a rebuttal. No one has the right to deny Coates interpretation of his experience, to deny what it was like growing up as he did in poverty in Baltimore in the last quarter of the 20th century. He eloquently describes the incidents that led him to his negative conclusions about this country, including the odds weighted against him on the street and in school. Counterposing those experiences, however, was his family life. He was blessed by a […]
October 25, 2015

Interview with Sharon Buchbinder, author of Kiss of the Jinni Hunter Series

  Describe your writing career to this point.  I have always been a story-teller. As a child, I got into a lot of trouble for “making things up.” Now, I’m rewarded for making things up! I’ve been writing fiction since middle school and have the rejection slips to prove it. I even handwrote a script for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I had a massive crush on Ilya Kurykin, played by David McCallum, and I wrote myself into that script as his love interest. I was writing romantic suspense even then—I just didn’t know it was called that! After graduating with a B.A. in Psychology, I realized my dream of working in the attic writing great novels would have to take […]
October 13, 2015

Stepping through the looking glass with Tracee Lydia Garner

October 23 will be a big day for me. I’ll be “stepping through the looking glass” with author Tracee Lydia Garner at Northern Virginia Community College at an event sponsored by the campus Partners’ Club, a group dedicated to promoting disability awareness. Tracee and I will be discussing writing and publishing, but our primary focus will be on portraying characters with disabilities. As those who have read House Divided know, my protagonist, Leonard Robbins, is wheel-chair bound as a result of an injury he suffered while in South America working for the CIA. If you can’t make that event, perhaps you know someone who might be interested. If so, please tell them to visit the Events Page on this website […]
October 13, 2015

Writer’s Retreat Do’s and Don’ts

I’ve only two days left in my two-week writer’s retreat and thought I’d share what I’ve learned from the experience. I came to my summer home by myself not expecting many external distractions. Everything was perfect except when I arrived my basement was flooded. Five inches of solid rain for two days had nowhere to go because our drainage pipe was totally blocked by a root mass. In addition to clean-up chores that needed doing after the pipe was cleared, I had some outdoor work that needed my attention. That part at least I was prepared for, and as the weather turned colder, I also became a slave to my fireplace––gathering kindling to go with the split wood I’d secured […]