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Writer's Rules Revisited #10

I've been doing a lot more thinking and artistic soul-searching this holiday vacation than writing. It's been irksome, but there's a reason behind it. If you read my last post, you'll know the reason for it.

 But the year is winding down and a number of things have some things have come into sharp focus. After you lose a friend, loved one, or colleague, you take stock in what people will have of you after you're gone and you realize you have so much more to say.

I have so much to say that it's frustrating I can't say it at the speed at which I wish to. With the New Year, I'm going to commit to writing more in 2013 than I ever have in the course of a year. Not just prose, either. Pieces for Huffington Post, StarWars.Com, Big Shiny Robot!, City Weekly, and any other outlet that will have me. I'll write and have published more short stories than ever and I'll be putting out at least a book or two.

I have to.

Time is short.

For far too many it's…

IN MEMORIAM: David Fetzer

Jitterbug from travis on Vimeo. Posted above is a short film starring David Fetzer. The best word to describe him would always be adorable. Or kind. Or caring. Or incredible. David had a way of making everyone feel like he was your best friend, but not in a way that was disingenuous. I'd never call myself David's best or closest friend but he went out of his way to make me know he cared. He might well have been the warmest, most caring person I've ever met in my entire life. I've never met a person with a bad thing to say about him. I met David working on the film Killer at Large, we hired him to do a bunch of different things on the film, as well as act in it. David was a hell of an actor. His work on stage or screen was powerful and soulful and for Killer at Large we shot a number of scenes from Neil LaBute's play Fat Pig, with David in the lead. It was incredible to see such a commanding performance that was almost entirely private, for our eyes only. I'm…

Writer's Rules Revisited #9

I've made all of my current deadlines, and story ideas are biting at me like no one's business. Plus I have that novel to finish (I'm sooooo close.) But, since I submitted the last piece I had on a major deadline this morning, I wanted to take a moment to bring you another edition of "Writing Rules Revisited."

And I'd like to say the kind words about this series really help. A good friend and excellent writer whose opinion I quite respect told me that she thought this series was invaluable and "an act of generosity to other artists."

I hope you all feel that way and letting me know that any of this is helping is certainly appreciated. And if you have any to add to the original list, I'd be more than happy to add them and write more essays about my take on them as well.

For those new around these parts, a brief explanation is in order. A long time ago I posted a list of rules and guidelines I've been collecting in my notebook over the years as a…

Writer's Rules Revisited #8

This month has been crazy with the Redditgifts marketplace monopolizing a lot of my time. Shipping and customs forms are a pain, but it's a pain I'm glad to have. It's great to see my books flying to all corners of the globe at such an alarming rate.

But that's a bit of a sidetrack, we're here to talk about writing.

For those new around these parts, a brief explanation is in order. A long time ago I posted a list of rules and guidelines I've been collecting in my notebook over the years as a writer. I put together the list on the blog and it was fairly popular. (You can read the whole thing here) But there's only so much that comes across in a simple bullet point list. I wanted to expand on it and we've been doing it two or three at a time ever since.

If you want to catch up on the series:

You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 herePart 4 herePart 5 here,Part 6 here, and Part 7 here.

We're only going to go over a couple of rules here today, b…

The Importance of Story Workshops

I just returned from a weekend workshop with a number of fellow writers (including Aaron Allston and Janine Spendlove). It's something we've been doing for years now and it's something I look forward to every bit as much as I dread in some small way.

Every year, we all submit between 7k and 10k words of prose and have the others hit us with both barrels of their notes. It's an all day thing, with at least 5 or 6 people sharing stories and notes around the room. We all come having read all the submissions and we pick one victim...ahem...one writer at a time and we all discuss their piece at length.

And this discussion is frank. There is no pussy-footing around. Sure, we'll briefly talk about what we liked about certain pieces, but the point of the workshop is to tell your fellows what doesn't work in their fiction. We're all friends and have been doing it for a while, so the need to sugarcoat problems is non-existent and we have frequent disagreements and a…

RedditGifts Marketplace

For any of you who are aware of Reddit, it's a massive community and every year they have the world's largest Secret Santa gift exchange. More than 50,000 people are participating. I'm participating this year and it's a lot of fun.

One of the ways the full time staff makes its money is through the RedditGifts Marketplace, which is new this year. They're curating a collection of merchants and artists to sell items through their Marketplace to help support the exchange and artists like myself.

I'm the first author they've added to the market place. I'm sure more will come, but right now mine are the only books available through Reddit.

You can buy my books at a slight discount, all signed, through their portal here. I'll be handling the shipping and handling just as if you'd be buying it through me, but it'll be supporting this great team of people at the same time.

If you want the bundles I've put on sale for the holidays still, though, …

Holiday Sales

In the spirit of the holidays, I'm going to be putting signed, print copies of my books on sale between now and the end of the holiday season. If you've wanted to grab copies for yourself or as a gift for friends, they will never be cheaper.

The sales are as follows:

Novel bundle:


Lost at the Con and Operation: Montauk - both of my published novels will be available for the low price of $20 + S&H. That's $10 off the suggested retail for the both of them. They'll be signed and personalized.



Shorts bundle:

Man Against the Future and God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut - Both of my collections of short stories and essays will be available for the low price of $15+S&H, which is $5 off their suggested retail price. They too will be signed and personalized.



The whole shebang:

Lost at the Con, Operation: Montauk, Man Against the Future, God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut, and The Colossus: All of the printed work above, plus my convention special steampunk novella "The Colossus&quo…

Triumph Over Tragedy

In the next few days I'll be submitting my third short story in as many weeks for an anthology. This one, though, might be the one I'm most proud of. Not the story, per se, though I do think it's really good stuff, but it's the most important anthology.

Put together by my friend and author R.T. Kaelin, Triumph Over Tragedy is an anthology that includes more than 40 authors and every cent of the proceeds are going to the Red Cross and relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

I won't say I was the first author to sign up when the redoubtable Mr. Kaelin cooked up the idea, but I was pretty darn close, and I'm very glad to be involved. For a donation of at least $7, you can get some very, very cool stories.

Here's the full list of authors involved so you can know why $7 for stories by all of them would be a steal:

• Robert Silverberg (Hugo and Nebular Award winner)
• Marion Zimmer Bradley (Locus Award winner) (donated by the MZB Literary Trust)
• Elizabeth …

Operation: Montauk: The Book Report

A young fan of Operation: Montauk read the book and liked it enough to do a book report/movie poster.

It's one of the coolest things I've seen and made me very, very happy.


If you, too, want to experience this "Awesome Fantasy," you can grab it in the store.  It's also available digitally (links here). 

Writer's Rules Revisited #7

I've been busy working on my new book as part of NaNoWriMo, but that doesn't mean I want to leave you guys entirely out in the cold. 

For those new around these parts, a brief explanation is in order. A long time ago I posted a list of rules and guidelines I've been collecting in my notebook over the years as a writer. I put together the list on the blog and it was fairly popular. (You can read the whole thing here) But there's only so much that comes across in a simple bullet point list. I wanted to expand on it and we've been doing it two or three at a time ever since.

If you want to catch up on the series:

You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 herePart 4 here, Part 5 here, and Part 6 here.

23)Avoid cliches. Avoid them in characters, action, dialogue, story, plot, and anything else that risks being cliched. If you must use a cliche, add uniqueness and freshness to it.

Cliches tend to be the first thing our mind thinks about when we're percolating a story…