Saturday, April 23, 2011


I wish the hashtag was #amwriting, but that's not the way of it. Between editing and critiquing several other authors' work (which I don't regret; it helps me, too), and editing my own Mercenaries; A Love Story, little time for writing activities. And less for the blog, unfortunately.

However, things are preceding apace on Mercenaries. I am the beneficiary of several partners, whose advice and suggestions I appreciate, even though I may not abide by their recommendations. I'm looking for a June 1 availability date on Amazon. The cover is complete; I'll post a blog in the next few days documenting the process so those of you, like me, who fear illustrators and artists can see just how easy it is. With Les Petersen, anyway.

And I'm also putting together a post on formatting for Kindles which may be interesting to some. It sort of starts where Derek Canyon's excellent Format Your Ebook for Kindle in One Hour leaves off. But it's taking longer than I thought.

Thanks, and if you haven't, download and read Twelve Worlds!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Twelve Worlds Available April 18

I know, it's Tax Day here in the US, due to some obscure holiday affecting DC, but more importantly, it's Release Day for the Twelve Worlds Anthology!

Go to Amazon to purchase your own copy of Twelve World Anthology for the ridiculously low price of US$2.99. As you do, remember that all author proceeds go to Reading Is Fundamental, our give back to a great organization helping others to learn about and enjoy reading.

If you like the Anthology, please put up a review on Amazon. If you find problems with it, let one of us, the authors, know. Visit the Twelve Worlds web site for more information.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When all you have is a hammer

You know the line about not having the right tool: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

This came to me during a discussion with a writer friend. The discussion started with passive voice and ended with tools. The tools we have as writers. Words, grammar, rules of writing.

This is the place I wanted to arrive. Rules. Rules of writing.

The rules of writing are not "rules" at all, but suggestions. Some of these suggestions are strong, some not so strong, but all are suggestions. We follow them for one reason only: to make it easy for the readers, our readers, to understand what we mean to say to them. A common set of rules is a great leveler.

However, some critics use their idea of rules in an attempt to have us give up some of our tools. Never use passive voice! Adverbs must die! The pluperfect has no place in fiction! You get the idea; if you've written, someone has made similar suggestions to you.

Don't be confused. The only tool we have that cannot be overused is the standard past tense, third person VP, at least in fiction. But overuse of the other tools has, I believe, made some overly sensitive to any examples.

The message is, as it always should be: tell the story you want to tell the way you want to tell it. Don't be put off from using passive voice, or mixed viewpoints, if one of those fills the hole in your story. We have all these tools. Some are common; some are unconventional, perhaps unfamiliar. Use the correct one for the effect you want to achieve. Don't overuse them; with familiarity comes contempt. Don't use them to avoid wrestling with the tool you should be using. But, do use them to make your readers feel your message.

Don't give up any of your tools. Don't allow someone else to take them away from you.