Things happen when they’re supposed to

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Things happen when they’re supposed to. I didn’t make that up. In fact, it’s a cliché. But that doesn’t mean it’s untrue. I find it comforting when I start to think I should have written my first novel long before I did. All that wasted time, right? Well, no. One of the first things they…
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Quote This!

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I’ve been a fan of hard-boiled detective fiction ever since taking a noir class in college (easy A). So when a book reporter recently asked me about my favorite quote from a work of fiction, this one from Raymond Chandler’s “Farewell My Lovely” sprang to mind: “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of…
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Mr. Titleman

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I love naming stuff. Albums, books, movies, businesses, pets, you name it. (Actually, I name it.) My goal is to someday retire and get people to pay me for this. I even have a name picked out for the company: Mr. Titleman. While I’m waiting for the big bucks, here’s a list of titles I’ve…
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The Magic of Words

If you stop to think about it, writing is a mystical process. It starts with thoughts (actually, it starts with coffee) representing concepts, ideas and feelings. Thoughts, of course, are stand-ins for whatever’s going on in our heads and hearts. Then we take those thoughts and make them even more abstract by transposing them into…
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Fab Four

Earlier this year, Sirius/XM satellite radio launched a channel devoted to the Beatles. In between all the hits (collectively and individually), they sprinkle it with early demos, alternative tracks, rarities, live recordings, covers, interviews, forums and a whole lot more. It’s a great reminder of what made the Beatles so special in the first place,…
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Squash those wiggle words

Need kind of a quick tip to make your writing a bit tighter? Get rid of some of those wiggle words; you know, the words that tend to leave you an out? That perhaps make you sound less confident? That should pretty much do the trick. But seriously, folks. Here’s that same weak, flabby paragraph…
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Many Happy Rewards

As writers, we can go days, weeks or even years before enjoying the tangible benefits of our work. These benefits may come in the form of monetary compensation, positive reviews or simply a nice email from a fan. But what about the little victories that get us through the daily slog, the ones that keep…
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The Myth of Time and the Cabin in the Woods

I’ve often said that marketing a book is like running for office—mostly grass roots appearances (sometimes in readers’ homes), rubber chicken lunches and book store signings where patrons generally ask for directions to the bathroom. However, unlike running for office, book marketing never ends. And so I find myself planning to go back on the…
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Life is Not a Genre

I’m not a big fan of writing critique groups. I know they work well for some authors, but you need to get really lucky to land in the right one. For most, it’s just too darned easy for members to offer up facile opinions not grounded in anything but personal taste or worse. On the…
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The Name Game

Character names are more important than many authors, especially beginning ones, realize. I read a book a few years back, in which most of the main characters were given two first names, as in Bob Charles, John Thomas, Nancy Henry, etc. Not only are the names generic (showing almost no thought on the part of…
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