There’s nothing like a conference

It’s the last hour of the last day of the Bouchercon world mystery convention. This year it was in New Orleans, an “easy” (by Texas standards) drive from Austin. I’ve spent four days with 2000 mystery authors, editors, publishers, and readers. I already knew a few, and I was fortunate to ride down and room with
Category: General Comment

Why NOT ask why?

I have been woefully negligent of my own blog lately. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing. Quite the contrary. I’ve been feverishly rewriting a novel to publish as a second edition of The Case of a Cold Trail and a Hot Musket. The revised version—updated and rebranded with a whole new cover establishing the
Category: Uncategorized

We have to be good before we can be bad

I recently saw (for the fifth time) the Le Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Watching this talented all-male comic-ballet dance troupe got me to thinking about writing. (Stay with me here.) If you have never seen the Trocks, they are full-size (not petite) men who don tutus and dance traditionally female roles (their Swan Lake rivals
Category: General Comment

Five Board games from the Baby Boomer childhood years

If you’re Of A Certain Age, you likely have fond memories of laying on your stomach, or sitting at the kitchen table, playing a board game with friends or family. As Rick Polizzi and Fred Schaefer note in Spin Again: Board Games from the Fifties and Sixties, “In many ways, our childhoods are defined by the games
Category: General Comment

3 simple ways to make the world a better place right now

I took a sabbatical from my blog because I no longer wanted to post about the craft of writing. I knew I wanted to change directions, but wasn’t sure what the right direction might be. Two recent incidents showed me the way. I am close to publication of my next novel, Virgilante. And Facebook is
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There is no substitute for a current backup

There is nothing quite like the feeling of opening your novel’s working document and discovering it’s an old version, and all recent changes and additions are lost. First comes disbelief. You check your hard drive to make sure you opened the right file. You open the novel again to see if the changes magically reappeared. You scroll around
Category: General Comment

We need to belong to groups

All humans have a drive to belong: to a tribe, a family, or these days especially, to a like-minded group, whether it be about a sport, hobby, or general interest (such as pottery or quilting). I recently wrote a blog about needing a team to get a book to market. But that’s not the same as
Category: General Comment

When you think the writing is done, it’s really just begun

In last week’s blog I talked about how excited I was to have finished the first draft of Virgilante. And that’s true. But there’s a reason it’s called the FIRST draft. It’s only the beginning. Even though this draft has been through the Lockhart Writers critique group, it still needs proofreading, editing, polishing, cutting, expanding,
Category: General Comment

There’s nothing like the finish line

No matter what hobby or career you pursue, you probably know there is no feeling quite as good as finishing something you’ve worked on for a long time. I reached that milestone today. After 164 days of writing 30 chapters and 72, 561 words, I typed the last line of the last chapter for Virgilante
Category: General Comment

Just a sentence or two

Perhaps more than anyone else, writers know the power of words. Even few words. I used to belong to a critique group in Austin that was managed by successful author Karen Macinerney. It was an excellent group, and members always welcomed feedback. We met weekly at Bookpeople, so after several months, we weren’t just fellow
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