Wednesday, December 29, 2010


My dayjob ran me ragged for two weeks. I believe Santa outsources his deliveries to us. But the busy, bad times are WAY back there. I've been noodling around with my goals for the upcoming year. Last years goals were ephemeral so this year specificity is needed.

Write one hour minimum every morning.
Spend one hour minimum every night on writing related work-editing, rewriting, market search, submission tracking/issues, organization, etc…
Track word counts and evaluate writing progress.
Update social media. Tweak when necessary.
Every three weeks have a rough draft done and have a finished draft by the fourth week.
Have finished stories in continuous submission rotation.
Three short stories published in paying markets.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Akron Zips are number one!

Enjoy this Cathi.  The Akron Zips are the best college soccer team in the nation. They beat the University of Louisville today. Barely. And really who cares about a communist sport like soccer. Right? So huzzah for now Akron. Your time will come.


In no particular order.
The Deputy
Victor Gischler has written the hard-boiled slacker novel.   And what is the worst thing you can do to a slacker? Never give him time to slack.  Part-time, or should we say half-ass, deputy Toby Sawyer gets plopped down into the middle of the worst night of his young life in an isolated Oklahoma town.  Victor also writes comics or as he calls them “funnybooks”.
Bitter Seeds Cover Art
Ian Tregellis wrote of British warlocks versus Nazi supermen. Who wouldn't love that?  Set in the World War 2, Tregellis spins a complex and well-paced story. There are two more books in this series. Next up the Cold War.

Paul Tremblay plugs his narcoleptic detective, Mark Genevich, into a place wrought with peril-companionship.  He sucks at his job, his mom slash landlord is at his heels and he's lonely.  Enter his new BFF or is that Best Enemy Forever.

Walter Mosley has hung up the Easy Rawlin crime tales for now but that doesn't mean he's given up on the iconic leading man.  Leonid McGill may not stand out in a crowd but you won't be able to forget this powerful but conflicted husband, father, boyfriend and finally man. Mosley does an outstanding job writing about acts that may not be legal but sure are moral.

Steve Hamilton departs from his detective series to write a stand alone crime novel about a young Boxman or safe cracker.  A childhood tragedy has led Michael to not utter a word for 10 years. That's right the 1st POV character is mute. And it works seamlessly. Almost as seamless as Michaels ability to open locks of all kinds. This special ability comes to the attention of some ne'er do wells. This interferes with Michael's pursuit of the only lock he wants to open-the lock to a girl's heart.  Good stuff, yo.

I could go on forever but I'll leave my favorite books at a reasonable five for now.  Next up will be my favorite comic book writers of 2010.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


One hectic day at work, my boss said to me. "Don't build me the watch, just tell me the time." And he was right. He didn't need all the facts and steps that lead to my problem, he just needed the problem.  I try to apply this approach to my writing. It's my version of "Show, Don't Tell".  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I leave too much off the page that it isn't clear to my reader what the hell I'm talking about. 

I remember reading some epic space opera when I was too young to attempt such a thunderous tome. Did I grasp everything they were talking about? No, I did not. But I knew that when the characters bought a drink with a 'cruple' that was a unit of money to them.  I didn't need a footnote or back info on the creation of the monetary system for this universe. You bought things with a 'cruple'.

'nuff said.  I'm putting together a Top Ten Books I Read In 2010 list. Not necessarily all published in 2010, just the ones I read.  I might try other Top Ten categories such as music and comics. Only saw enough movies for a Top Five list and don't get me talking about television because I can only think of 3 to 4 shows worth mentioning.

I'm reading Lori Armstrong's new book "No Mercy" right now. I met the author briefly at the KY Bookfair( and yes we read books in Kentucky). She told me she writes "a tough as nails character".  Mercy Gunderson does indeed seem tough as a keg of nails. Check out her book.
<strong>No Mercy</strong> by Lori Armstrong

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paul Pope- A Bizarre Anomaly

Paul Pope is a comic book artist with the combined flavors of European style and manga tradition. His comics are hard-boiled sci-fi crime tales smoothly inked over the page.  The panels are well designed, the characters are fashionable outsiders but throughout this mythic pop imagery, the world is grounded in grit and neon shadows.

 I found Pope through his dystopian future Batman Year 100 graphic novel.  In the back of the book are early design sketches for his Batman.  Pope focused on the boots Batman would wear-military combat boots with steel toes used for jumping out of airplanes.  A pet peeve of Pope is the way footwear and clothing is handled by artists. He wants to see the seams, the wrinkles, the sweat and dirt. And he treats Batman the same way. He sweats, he bleeds and he eats.  Doesn't sound exciting?  Well, read it and see.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Diving For Every Loose Word.

I was a big kid growing up.  My size and rough nature made me ideal for an offensive lineman on the football team.  Stuck in the trenches. Never to know glory.  I came to play basketball a little later in my athletic career. 
You couldn't hide in basketball.  The spotlight shined on you and all your awkward shuffling and elbowing and missed shots.  I was not good, in fact I was terrible but I loved it.  If anything I was more aggressive on the basketball court than the gridiron. 
Talent schmalent.  Having never gotten to touch a football, my determination to get the basketball was relentless.  Every practice, every game I came home with floor burns from diving for a loose ball.
How much does talent count in writing?  I'm an okay writer. With effort, I can be better.  If I want to be a working writer, I'm going to have to dive for every loose word.  Just so you know I got good enough in basketball to win a lower division in a streetball tournament. Of course, they didn't have referees.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Game of Cages or Ray Lilly Needs A Hug

Cover of Game of Cages
Ray Lilly is the main character of Harry Connolly's outstanding Twenty Palaces series.  This ex-car thief was introduced in Connolly's first book Child Of Fire.  He's a pawn of the Twenty Palace Society which you think would bother him more.  Except he only feels alive when he's running down "predators" for the society.  This is one of the many cool things about Connolly's novel.  His monsters-the predators- are not your run of the mill claw, fang or hairy baddie.  Instead they are so alien, so unfamiliar to the human senses that you are horrified and attracted at the same time.  This novel also deals with the accumulative weight that violence adds to a hero's soul.  No act can be easily discounted.  Also if you like your story spoonfed to you while you're wearing a bibb, don't read this novel.  Mr. Connolly deftly weaves a story by putting you into the action and never dumps useless info on you.  But if you like tautly crafted hardboiled magic tales, go out and get this book.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Virtue has a veil, vice a mask."

Victor Hugo said that.  Crime fiction. Speculative fiction. These two genres make up the bulk of my reading and what I like to write about.  A thousand masks can be found worn in every good story. I hope to show you a few interesting masks in my own work, as well as shining the spotlight on other creator's masked marvels.