Saturday, January 31, 2009

Don't Ask

I worked Saturday, and I'm still dealing with lung crud, so I was tired when I returned home.

I sat on the couch and closed my eyes--"just for a minute"--and woke up hours later. In this extended nap, I had a whacked-out dream about the silly, bizarre games monsters and Greco-Roman gods play when they're on a camping trip. (Friends don't let werewolves hunt drunk.)

Then, in the middle of all this strangeness, I freaked out because I'd forgotten to talk about a group of gods in Dragon's Bane--

"Wait. These guys aren't part of the story," and I went back to sleep.


However, I did dream up some cool dialogue for a vampire story.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Elmer Fudd Afoot

I've been looking around the internet for agents' websites, doing a little research in the wee hours of the morning. Many agencies accept only established authors or those referred to them by other agents or established authors.

Not very encouraging.

But I'll keep sneaking through the forest in search of wabbits.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Life on Mars

ABC's crime show, Life on Mars, is back. Whoo hoo!

Watch it online (available tomorrow), and find out why "I am Spartacus" is a punchline.

Elmer Fudd Afoot

Okay. (typing with more resolve than I'll probably feel tomorrow) I'm going on an agent hunt.

Other than rejection of one's manuscript, the only threat in such an endeavor is to one's wallet, due to the cost of ink, paper, and postage. Well, there's also the chance of paper cuts, but most writers are inured to such dangers.

As for capturing my prey, even a double-barreled shotgun wasn't much help to Elmer Fudd in his search for wascally wabbits, so maybe I'll just use a lure: cheese-flavored paper stacked on an innocuous-looking trap, with a few SASEs tossed on top as a garnish.

Cabin Fever

Dealing once more with lung crud, and stranded by poor weather, I've been home since returning from work Saturday afternoon, and am just about to go cabin-crazy.

While finishing up Episode 6 for Thieves' Honor (just sent in to the editors), I've been watching Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, an homage to old-fashioned science fiction cartoons and films of the 1930s and 40s. If I have a complaint about the movie, it's the whole "Good boy, Dex" routine that Joe (Sky Captain) does with his sidekick. Other than that, I sit back and enjoy the almost mindless fun.

I've also been reading Ted Dekker's The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White) in an omnibus edition given to me for Christmas from my brother and his wife. I finished Black on Monday morning, and have started Red. Bubba's been a Dekker fan for years, but I'm a latecomer to the club. My first Dekker attempt was Skin, a fast and tense read, so I was game for more. I'm liking the intercutting between two worlds in this current set of books, but--as with Sky Captain--there's an annoying tick in the story: all that winking. What's with the winking? Everybody, or at least all the "good guys", likes to wink at one another.

Perhaps I'm making a huge deal out of details because I've been in this house and on this couch for too long. It must be a sign that I'm either really, really sick, or that I've been cooped up too long, if going back to work looks like fun.

Or maybe I need to move to a warmer, drier climate.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ah, That Wacky Winter Weather

Freezin' rain's a'comin'. Monday through Wednesday, my area of Arkansas may experience that dreaded winter enemy that downs power lines, mucks up highways, and breaks tree limbs, not to mention freezes the water supplies of entire towns, as it did mine several years ago.

I know employers and schools can't predict weather's exact behavior, but when there's a high chance (70% on Monday, 100% on Tuesday) that the roads will become solid sheets of sparkly, deadly ice, I'd think the smart thing to do would be to cancel anything requiring employees and kids to be out on those same roads.

But that's just me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tortoise-Like Progress

So, Episode 6 of my science fiction serial, Thieves' Honor, has started trundling along again, after being stalled over Christmas and the first part of January.

The series isn't meant to be too deep--not what might be called serious literature--which is a switch for me. There's more banter and more witticisms in this effort than in my other writing, the stuff where I try too hard, beat my head against multiple walls in an effort to push the story forward. That happens sometimes with Thieves' Honor--the fourth and fifth episodes, for instance--but for some reason I'm more relaxed about this story than anything else I've written. This story, on display to the world, whether or not the writing's any good, whether or not the plot has holes or the characters are interesting.

It's kinda goofy, too. For the readers who are geeky enough to catch the references, I make allusions to other science fiction, written or filmed, and even included a couple nods to Veggie Tales in Episode 4.

In this episode (still in search of a title), the crew of the Martina Vega first contend with the constabulary searching the cargo hold, then--before the law is finished--Governor Bat'Alon arrives with his men and demands to know where his daughter is (being a passenger, she's been gone for hours); and then, interrupting the governor's threats, the extraction team arrives, guns drawn, to collect the Vega crew and the rest of the bounty offered by the woman who put out the contract on Finney, the pilot, whom the team has already captured. Across the city, Captain Zoltana, an ordinarily intelligent officer of the law, is about to do something really stupid with her career.

Now I just have to choreograph what happens next. Problem is, I have no idea what happens next.

As for other fiction, a friend is still reading the incomplete manuscript for my second fantasy novel, and sending along her comments. There are some chapters coming up that dive off into territory that makes me nervous, but nervous might be good. It might signal that I'm finally tapping into reality, or it might mean that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Book of Names - Day 3

This is the final day of the blog tour highlighting The Book of Names, a young adult fantasy novel by D. Barkley Briggs, author of scientific thriller, The God Spot, and modern-day parable, The Most Important Little Boy in the World.

The previous two days have included my niece's praises; today's my turn, but the praise will be mixed with the observations of a critical eye.

I'm an editor--often a blessing, sometimes a curse--so the positives come first, followed by the persnickety editor stuff.


Here are the reasons I think The Book of Names is a good read:

1) In the first chapter is a cool description of a mysterious sky, and the passage ends with this evocative sentence: "Like God had put Van Gogh in charge for the day." There are more excellent images like that throughout the story.

2) Great line (and solid theology) on page 90:
"Providence is never mistaken," said Eldoran. "Only misunderstood."
3) Humor, such as this line on page 88, when the Barlow brothers are trying to convince the monks the boys are not the Champions, and they just want to go home:
I'll take 'Sorry to Disappoint You' for $200, Alex, he thought.
4) Flogg the gnome's speech pattern resembles that of Gurgi, a humorous character in the late Lloyd Alexander's series of fantasy novels, The Chronicles of Prydain, which I read multiple times when I was a kid (and now own, in reprints of the original covers).

5) The relationship among the brothers is well done. Having a younger brother, my only sibling, I can identify with the two older boys--Hadyn and Ewan--since their age difference is close to that between my brother and me. We picked on each other, wounded each other, stuck up for each other, and once risked our lives (he was 8, I was 11), and we're best friends, despite times when we weren't sure we could stand being on the same planet, let alone in the same car.

6) Interesting characters and setting.

7) The interweaving of familiar mythology and tropes with good writing, making the old seem fresh and intriguing.

Also, the whole notion of The Book of Names is very cool, that the names and deeds of everyone in Karac Tor--past, present, future--is recorded in a vast collection of scrolls. Brings to mind Psalm 139:
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Awesome way to link fiction and scripture.

8) Lots of action; the story rarely stands still, and there's plenty of tension and conflict. But every good tale needs lulls in the activity--even in suspense novels or thrillers--to give the characters and the reader a chance to breathe, look around, prepare for what comes next, and The Book of Names has a good pace.

9) The unexpected: The scene beginning on page 113, when the Flight of Crows appears, and the Nameless beat on the Stone House and call the boys to come outside, reads like a scene from a horror film, but that's not a bad thing. Danger is imminent, tension is high, and the heroes are not unscathed. (And I'm surprised my niece didn't have nightmares about it. In our annual viewing of The Hobbit, at the part when the goblins arrived or the spiders appeared, she used to huddle up next to me, close her eyes, and ask me to tell her when it was safe to look again.)

10) The children / teenagers are truly the heroes of the tale, and not just bystanders while the adults do all the heavy lifting. Thus, when young people pick up this book, they can identify with the main characters and feel like participants in the story.



This is where the nitpicking begins. It's not my intention to tear down the work of a fellow writer, or to demean a good story well told. In editing, my job is to point out weaknesses and errors in unpublished work so the writer can correct it before publication. As evidenced by a sampling of items listed below, The Book of Names could have benefited from a fine-toothed comb approach in the editing process.

On page 14, the second sentence of the first full paragraph doesn't say what the author intended:
Yet standing alone in the field , bundled in flannel, something else prickled his skin--something hidden in the rhythm of the day, at its core--and it wasn't just the chill wind.
This may seem a small thing--why pick on a sentence that vividly evokes setting and atmosphere?--but it's the small stuff that matters, that keeps up the illusion of reality in a work of fiction. The problem with the sentence lies at the beginning: Yet standing alone in the field , bundled in flannel, something else prickled his skin. Was the "something else" standing alone in a field and bundled in flannel? Of course not, but that's what the sentence says.

On the same page (and in various other places in the book) are those vile ellipses--those dot-dot-dots--that are so commonly misused that most writers look at me in confusion when I point out the problem. (An ellipsis is supposed to indicate words that exist but that are missing from a quote, or spoken but unheard portions of written dialogue. It is not meant to indicate words that are never spoken, or thoughts that trail into nothingness, but that is the common misuse.)

Other quibbles: the "rolling the eyes" thing gets on my nerves; the up-crop of cliches i.e. "as different as night and day" or "make no guarantees" or "mad as a hornet"; the use of second-person "you" on the first page of the story (and later throughout); and dead spots in the otherwise excellent writing, which is why I didn't get into the story until late in the first chapter, and why I disliked the first page. Yet there's a good mix of mystery, characterization, and back story in the first chapter.

Chapter 5, "Dreamsong", is good, and I was totally into the story, but then a sentence near the middle of page 58 jerked me up short:
He glided along, ambivalent to the snapping of twigs underfoot.
Perhaps Briggs meant "oblivious," which would make sense with the action, but ambivalent? Did the character feel uncertain about the sound of snapping twigs? Did he have differing opinions?

Again, same chapter, good storytelling and a funny scene is interrupted by a poor word choice:
The moment the thing slipped down his shirt, whatever it was, bug or mouse, Ewan became Elasto-Boy, contorting, shrieking, flailing his arms, whipping and cavorting about.
"Cavorting about" invokes tumbling or gymnastics, some sort of playing, not the crazy dance many of us do when we're trying to dislodge a critter or an ice cube from our clothing.

I'm all for using sentence fragments and breaking other writing rules if they are done well or make a point. However, there's an incompleteness to the following use of a sentence fragment on page 73--and, like the above discussion of misused ellipses, it highlights another common grammatical misuse, that of the word "so":
Ewan exhaled, nearly collapsing. He had been tensing every muscle for so long.
So long that what? So long that they felt like Jell-O? So long that they felt like knotted rope? A lot could have been done with that sentence to further the action, the characterization, the reader's involvement in the story.

Or, a simple fix: Ewan exhaled, nearly collapsing, he had been tensing every muscle for so long. Change the punctuation, and the thought is complete, the sentence structure becomes elegant.

I could point put more stuff, but the nitpicking ends here. (What a relief, eh?)

As much of an annoying perfectionist as I am, I often find it difficult to turn off the editor and let myself just settle into a story, let it carry me along. Briggs probably has a number of people reading his work before it ever hits the press, but I wish someone had caught some of those small details so that the story would have flowed, unhindered by these little twigs sticking up out of the water, signals to a river captain there's a much larger obstacle concealed beneath.


The Book of Names is published by NavPress, and their story and purpose can be read here. An American Chronicle interview with author D. Barkley Briggs is available here.

Check out other opinions of The Book of Name by visiting the list of CSFF Blog Tour participants in the left-hand sidebar of this blog.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Humor Break

I interrupt this blog tour for a short humor break, courtesy of Overheard Lines, a blog comprised of, well, overheard lines.

Theological Discussion on a Train
Guy: "What, he's a Buddhist? So has he shaved his head and become a nun and stuff?"
Girl: "He just said he's a Buddhist. He's probably not; he's probably a Christian."
Guy: "Didn't Johnny become a Buddhist? Or was that vegetarian?"

The Book of Names - Day 2

Continuing with my ten-year-old niece's thoughts about The Book of Names by D. Barkley Briggs on the second day of the January Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour:

Q. Have an opinion about Hadyn?
A. Even though he didn’t like his hard work, he found a way to make it fun by cutting the maze through the briars, and he was obedient to his father by not cursing. (Later in the book), he tried to comfort and protect his brother.

Q. Talk about some of the other characters.
A. Ewan: “He was adventurous, and he liked music. When something bad happened to his brother, he tried to save him.”

Sorge the monk: “When the boys wanted to go back to their world, he helped them. He’s loyal and kind.”

Eldoran: “He’s the leader of the monks—his personality seemed to kind of put him in charge. He was kind and considerate, and he listened quietly while the boys were explaining how they had gotten to that world.”

Archibald the king: “He’s kind of a neutral character. He’s trying to prevent evil from happening, but he also doesn’t seem much interested in helping the boys find a way home. After all, he wasn’t the one who brought them there.”

Asandra the mirling: “She captures these evil creatures called Watchers, so they can’t harm the people. At first, she seems quiet, she doesn’t really like to talk much. Later, she becomes friends with Hadyn and Ewan, and opens up about herself a little bit. Whenever there’s danger, she doesn’t get freaked out; she tries to help in any way she can. I think she was a little sad when Hadyn and Ewan had to leave her.”

Nemesia: “She’s the bad guy. She used to be a mirling, but I guess she wanted power, so she went to an island, and there was a tower there. She lived in the tower, and she stole children to make an army and make the whole world dark. She was plain mean, and she didn’t care about anybody.”

Flog the gnome: “He was grumpy, and he was the cook at the monastery where Sorge lives. He turns out to be quite helpful, even though he’s grumpy. He’s also a little silly, a little funny, silly-funny.

And, I might add, he has an interesting way of talking.

I'm still reading the book, and should finish it by tomorrow, in time for my last post for this month's tour. I liked the poem and the map at the beginning, but--I confess--aside from the opening sentence, the first page just didn't grab me. Maybe that's because it wasn't intended to get a grown-up's attention. Jamie, however, devoured the book like a bear raiding picnic baskets at the park, and would have consumed more if the second book had been available. (Corus the Champion is scheduled for release later this year; The Song of Unmaking is still in the works.)

Check out more about D. Barkley Briggs and his books at his blog, or read what other bloggers and writers have to say by visiting the sites listed in the left sidebar of this blog, under CSFF BLOG TOUR PARTICIPANTS.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Book of Names - Day 1

The January Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour is highlighting the young adult fantasy, the first in the Legends of Karac Tor series, The Book of Names by D. Barkley Briggs.

(Hmmm. Karak Tor--character, in disguise?)

The Kingdom of Karak Tor is the myth-soaked setting of the tale of two modern teen brothers who find themselves thrust into an adventure far removed from their everyday lives.

This book arrived just in time for a Christmas visit from my brother's family, and my oldest niece, Jamie, devoured it and the sneak peak at the end (for the second book in the series, Corus the Champion, due Spring 2009). Jamie is a thin ten-year-old girl close to five feet tall, with glasses, long straight hair, and a decisive manner of speaking. I interviewed her the morning she finished reading The Book of Names, and below is an edited-down portion of what she had to say about it:

Q. So, whaddya think of the opening?
A. It really grabbed my attention, made me want to read the rest of the book.

Q. And the poem before the first chapter?
A. It felt ancient and mysterious, and I didn’t really understand it at first, but that’s the reason I wanted to read the rest of the book, to see if it would explain a little more about the poem.

Q. What's Karak Tor like?
A. It seems ancient, and mostly peaceful.

Newland, the town where the boys live--it’s kind of out in the country, in modern times, in the United States. They live on a farm, but they don’t have animals, because their father was actually a college professor. I liked the setting.

Q. Any thoughts on the story itself?
A. It had some funny parts. For instance, one of Hadyn’s younger brothers, not Ewan, said, ‘Kracter,’ instead of ‘Karac Tor.’ He doesn’t appear in Karac Tor until the very end of the story, though.

It had a bit of a sad part, when Hadyn got swiped by Nemesia the witch. He did get rescued, though, and that part was happy.

I would recommend the book to other kids my age, and older, too. It’s an adventure, and a bit of a mystery. I can’t wait for the next book!

High praise from a young, intelligent book connoisseur.

For other opinions on The Book of Names, visit any of the blogs listed in the left-hand sidebar under the CSFF Blog Tour heading.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hoopin' It Up

Basketball season is in full swing at the Boys & Girls Club.

Here are a couple shots taken from the concession stand when I had to man the battle station one day back in December.

The first photo is of a staff member on his way out the door after collecting a stray basketball right before a scheduled practice. The flash was off, and the camera was steadied on the concession counter instead of a tripod, but I wanted the blur so there's motion to the picture.

Shooting under the gym lights can cast a grey or greenish hue over the pictures, but using the flash can wash out the subjects and make them look like they're standing in a cave.

The second shot is of a boy on his way to practice, but I think he was only a spectator, being too young for the team. (My memory is kinda fuzzy; I've slept since then, as the saying goes.) Like the way I included a nice view of the concession trash? I wasn't paying attention to the background clutter, or I'd have framed the photo differently.

And how about a shot of the snack chips waiting to be devoured by hungry kids with more cash in their pockets in a week than I have in a month? (I give myself an allowance for movies or whatever, but the rest stays in the checkbook.)

The photography contest is coming up, and the deadline for the essay contest fast approaches. Kids who aren't motivated by the love of writing are motivated by the $50 prize; others are motivated by popsicles. (Every completed essay earned the author a popsicle on Monday.) Hey, fifty bucks is a long shot, but a popsicle is a sure thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I meant to write in the science fiction genre on Sunday; instead, I wrote a little fantasy.

As I have said often in the past, I am not a reader of McCaffrey and her famous Dragonriders, of Donita K. Paul or Bryan Davis, nor of any other series of dragon tales, and did not set out to include dragons in my fantasy. One day--or, rather, one night, since the scene in the first manuscript occurs after nightfall--a dragon flew overhead, seeking one of the major characters, and became so integral to the plot that I could not dislodge him.

Due to story requirements, he has since become she; and, as the writing has progressed over the years, I've learned interesting things about the species: surprisingly human in rivalries, humors, and intelligence, and with a variety of skills divided among the clans. If my dragons resemble those of another writer, it will be by chance and not intention. Well, aside from Puff of folk music fame, the only dragon who can truly be said to bear a resemblance to mine is Smaug, who was intelligent and darkly funny, and fired my childhood imagination. The scene between him and Bilbo Baggins is one of my favorites in The Hobbit.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recharging the Story Bank

This time of year--basketball season--I work six days a week, and that's not so bad, but all the stuff crammed into this past week made for an exhausted writer. In fact, no writing has been accomplished this week. The brain has been sapped.

However, in an effort to recharge the creativity, I've done a lot of reading. Last night, I finished the latest entry in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd. As always, a good mystery filled with intriguing characters. I own copies of each book in the series, and have read them several times.

I also stocked up on movies from the video store. Last night, I viewed The Orphanage (El Orfanato) and Eagle Eye, and this afternoon is for Rails & Ties and Hellboy II:The Golden Army. Most of the viewing time last night was spent lying on the couch, trying not to fall asleep; today, I did the same but with better results. The sleepiness was exhaustion, not the movies' inability to keep my attention. Yeah, sleep would have been a better prescription than forcing myself to stay awake, but I'm always up for a story.

The Orphanage: The rental DVD was worn out, and so I missed some material at the beginning (the disk paused then skipped), and the sound disappeared about thirteen minutes before the end, so I missed the music, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. Excellent storytelling--in the script, the acting, and the overall look and feel of the film. The ending is slightly ambiguous, but not to anyone who's paid attention. I wouldn't recommend this to viewers who need everything spelled out for them, or who don't like to read subtitles, since this film is in Spanish.

Note: This was director Juan Bayona's first feature film, and I will definitely be interested in his future endeavors, as well as writer Sergio Sanchez's other projects.

Eagle Eye: Improbable, yeah. Similar to other paranoia-filled government-secret chase films, yeah. But a lot of fun. If I have a complaint, it's the sentient supercomputer premise. It's been done and done, and done again, and scary as the thought might be--that the creation might overtake and control the creators--it almost bores me, perhaps because I don't believe such a thing will ever truly happen. But Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are strong in the leads, and there are several solid actors in the supporting roles (Michael Chicklis, Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton, Ethan Embry, and more).

Rails & Ties: An emotional (and, some reviewers claim, improbable) story of a train conductor and his dying wife who take in the son of a woman who committed suicide by parking her car on the tracks, forcing the conductor to make a decision: hit the emergency brake and possibly derail his train full of passengers, or hit the car and take a life. Kevin Bacon stars as Tom Stark, the conductor; Marcia Gay Harden plays his wife, Megan Stark; and teenage newcomer Miles Heizer is excellent as the orphaned boy, Davy Donner. Some reviews call this a Lifetime movie with better acting, but since I don't have cable, and probably wouldn't watch Lifetime even if I did, I have no comparison. I just know I liked this film, with its restraint and quiet honesty. Warning, though: It might make guys choke up a little, or at least form a tear in the corner of the eye.

Hellboy II: Haven't watched it yet, but am getting ready to do so. I watched the first one only last year (or perhaps early this year), and liked it better than I expected, so I'm looking forward to this one.

After all the lounging around, reading, and viewing, I hope the next episode of Thieves' Honor just scrolls across my computer screen or rolls out in black ink across the page, but nothing will happen if I don't just sit down and write.


Addendum: I've just finished watching Hellboy II, and it was freaky, but I was entertained. The one laugh-out-loud scene involved soon-to-be-drunk Abe and already-worse-for-wear Red singing along with a Barry Manilow song, "Can't Smile Without You."

In an above paragraph, when I referred to "last year" and "this year", I meant 2007 and 2008, respectively. 2009 still hasn't sunk in yet.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Family and Books

Bubba, Bubba's Wife, and the kiddos have departed the premises, headed home to Ohio. They left about 20 minutes ago, a few hours later than they intended, because "Tiny Whiny One" kept the adults in a state of wakefulness for the past few nights, and last night was no different. She couldn't breathe or get comfortable due to sinus congestion.

Rae is a year and a half old, and she's quite a talker, with inflection and hand gestures and whole paragraphs in her own little language. Some words are intelligible--they say what she means to say--and others are (or sound like) more sophisticated words jumbled together in silly sentences that make perfect sense to Rae, but let the rest of us interpret as we will, sometimes with hilarious results.

Rae's older sister, Jamie, will be eleven next month, and her conversation is also abundant, but it's actually understandable. She's a reader, consuming entire books in the same amount of time other children are arriving at Chapter Three. I received several books for Christmas, and one of those was a kid's book (I collect childrens fiction to use in Story Time at the Club)--Inkheart--which Jamie devoured before moving on to The Book of Names, which is the next novel we'll be discussing on Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour later this month. She finished the book yesterday morning, so I interviewed her before I headed to work, and will use her responses in one of my posts during the tour.

The house feels empty without all the extra stuff and people that accompany a visit from Bubba and clan. Ah, well.

Time to get back to work, and do some writing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Indiana Jones and Reading Quest

Basketball games are going on in the gym, and I'm in my office, cruising the internet, looking for Indiana Jones images I can use for a bulletin board at the Boys & Girls Club.

Reading Quest is an annual literacy contest in which kids participate by reading books and then bringing those books to me so I can make copies of the front covers. The children also must give a brief oral book report about each. This year's theme is Indiana Jones, and the kids have been waiting for January 1 to arrive so they can start the contest.

As I've been perusing various sites, I "imagined up" a possible addition to the contest: Instead of just reading, what if the participants also had a chance to write stories, too? It's so obvious, why didn't we do it all the previous years we've had the program?

So, here's the possible writing theme for Reading Quest 2009: a short piece of fiction about Indiana Jones and the Crusaders' Last Raid of the Temple of the Crystal Skull.

Or Indiana Jones and the Doomed Raiders' Last Crusade on the Crystal Temple of the Lost Ark?

Whaddya think? Too much?

Writing Advice and Some Humor to Sweeten It

This morning, as I cruised the forums page over at Fear and Trembling magazine, for which I volunteer as a slush reader and proofreader, I read a few recent articles posted there:

One is a humorous piece by Bill Snodgrass, writer and co-founder of Double-Edged Publishing, Inc. He discusses how folks just can't operate that "little dialee thing" on their thermostats: "Civilization's Glass Ceiling".

In the "Writer's Cramps" column, L.S. King has some succinct advice regarding ways a writer can reduce the use of -ly words (adverbs) and create stronger writing: "Descriptive Verbs". King is part of the editorial team at Ray Gun Revival magazine.

Scott Sandridge, editor of Fear and Trembling, conducted an interview with Eric S. Brown, a writer of zombie tales. Though I don't read zombie stories, I always like to read / hear about how other writers operate, how they create, and can often glean something useful from interviews.

And here's an excellent--and brief--piece on how many people view God, "Punishments from God" by Selena Thomason, editor of MindFlights magazine. How much is true, and how much is merely a projection of our own frailties?

Each one of the articles listed above takes maybe two minutes to read--five, tops--so check 'em out. If you don't like what you read, you have my money-back guarantee!*

*(This offer not valid in Hawaii, Alaska, the contiguous United States or any of its territories. Canada's kinda iffy, too.)