Making lemonade

Well, life handed me a few lemons this week. I was laid off from my day job as a web manager. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’m getting a little bit of severance pay and they’re going to retain me as a contractor, so there will still be some income coming in. On the other hand, after the initial shock wore off, I found being unemployed extremely liberating. I started plotting book four Tuesday morning and […]

Book 3 is almost here

It’s looking like a late October publishing date for book 3. I’m nearly finished editing and will be sending the manuscript to my copy editor this week. The phenomenal Julie Dillon sent me the latest cover sketch, and it’s amazing. The colors she’s chosen make the scene pop out. Can’t wait to see the finished version!

Short stories for you

I’m currently editing and rewriting some of my short stories to put up on the blog for free. They’re in PDF format, so pretty much everyone except for that lone holdover with the ancient browser that can’t read PDFs will be able to read them online. I trust that none of my readers are that person. The first story, Rainbow’s End, is here. I’ll add more as I get to them. One of the stories, “Through A Dragon’s Eye,” is […]

Writing in the age of zero tolerance

Spectrum Magazine

I’m pretty sure the first story I ever wrote would have gotten me arrested today. When I was thirteen years old, we moved to Maplewood, NJ. There was nothing about the move that I liked. I knew I would once again be the new kid in school (for the third time in seven years), I didn’t want to leave my friends, and I liked where I lived. We were moving into a two-family house with relatives I was certain we […]

Unsettling science

Not satisfied with overmedicating children for ADHD, some scientists are now saying we should medicate children who daydream. Which means that had I been born in this modern generation, I would have been ripe for being diagnosed with this brand-new “disorder”. I remember doing a lot of daydreaming in school. And yet, I managed to graduate high school and college without being dosed for it. Yet now some powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new […]

Making your mother cry

The questions that young writers ask the most are the ones that are probably the most difficult to answer. What does it take to be writer? How do you know if you’re any good? What, people wonder, is that special, magic ingredient that makes the difference between a wannabe and a writer? It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot. It’s impossible to find any single answer to that question. But I found some that work for me. There is […]

The status of book two

I’ve been updating The Catmage Chronicles Facebook page, but it occurs to me that I need to keep all six of my blog readers up to date. I got off track in recent months, but things are better now. Book two will be out no later than mid-November, and if I can get it to you earlier, I will. Julie Dillon has sent me some sketches for the cover art, and it’s her usual outstanding quality. When I have an […]

Canoples Investigation book review

I reviewed KC Sprayberry’s fantastic new series for teenage boys, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates (Volume 1). You can find the review on Goodreads or Amazon, but let me just say that I don’t normally read detective/mystery novels, and I could not put this one down. It’s a SF novel set on a space station in the 24th century with a teenage protagonist who runs a detective agency. Target audience is teenage boys, but this older woman had a great […]

Faith, hope, and clarity

Orson Scott Card in an interview about writing, on wise readers: These boil down to belief, concern, and clarity — or, to help readers of the Pauline epistles remember it, faith, hope, and clarity. And the greatest of these, as Paul said, is clarity. The wise reader then points out these marginal marks to the writer and says, Here I didn’t believe; there I was confused; in this spot I found I was thinking of grocery shopping. It is the […]

On Facebook

If you’re not following The Catmage Chronicles page on Facebook, here are some of the things I’ve been posting there: CHEKHOV’S GUN: I did something in book one that I have every intention of following up on, but it’s been difficult trying to figure out the how of it. Well, that amazing part of my brain that is plotting the novels figured it out today in a way that made me quite happy. Oh, it’s so evil and so wonderful, […]

Finding lost friends

I stopped writing short stories a long time ago. Hell, I stopped writing pretty much completely for a long, long time. But now that I’ve been writing novels for the past couple of years, I decided to revisit my finished short stories–some of them with hand-written rejection notes from the editor of Redbook–and see if they were good enough to publish now. (When I say a long time, I’m talking the 90s.) So I went looking for them in my […]

Retrieving XyWrite files

Yep, that’s what I’m going to be doing this week–retrieving files I wrote using XyWrite, which was a fabulous word processing program written by some of the guys that brought you Atex, the typesetting system I learned in the early 1980s. I went looking for my old short stories and discovered that I had totally effed up putting them on my last computer from the one before that. So I dug up my old Sony Vaio over the weekend, as […]

A book signing!

The Barnes & Noble in Chesterfield Towne Center (Richmond, VA) has invited me to a book signing in March. Stay tuned for details!

Hooray for showers!

Showers are fantastic plotting aids. Just figured out a major linchpin for Book 2 that will make things a lot easier (for me, anyway) for the rest of the series. And added a bit more to the ending. Although Scrubs is actually hindering me in my plotting. Book 2 is going to bring in a character who is the janitor in the high school, and a part of me so desperately wants to name him Jan Itor. (I won’t. But […]

Why Johnny can’t write

The Atlantic showcases a new method of teaching analytic writing that should soon be sweeping the nation. Because, educators have finally discovered, if students can’t think critically and write effectively about what they think, they can’t do well in other subjects, either. And so the school’s principal, Deirdre DeAngelis, began a detailed investigation into why, ultimately, New Dorp’s students were failing. By 2008, she and her faculty had come to a singular answer: bad writing. Students’ inability to translate thoughts […]