July 4 2014

Tanya and Jerry Get Away

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges. This week’s was to write a story (no more than 1000 words) about “bad parents.” Here’s my go:

Tanya and Jerry Get Away (747 words)

“Look, all I’m asking is that you not swear in front of her so goddamned much!”

Tanya had to shout so Jerry could hear her over the roar of the car’s engine, but Jerry was pretty sure she’d be shouting no matter how fast she was driving. He thought about pointing out her own language slip, just then, but quickly thought better of it. Instead, he craned his neck to look in the back seat. Little Madison was conked out, safely strapped into her car seat and clutching on to Mr. Bunny Rabbit.

“It doesn’t have that much of an effect on her,” he said. “She’s two. She’s a – whaddyacallit – a tabula rasa. Her brain’s still forming. It’s like a new day for her every five seconds.”

“Pretty sure that’s goldfish, Jerry.”

“Okay, so maybe not that often. The point stands.”

“The point,” said Tanya, “is that if she starts pre-school with a potty mouth, it’s gonna make us look like pretty terrible parents.”

“I’m sure she won’t be the first toddler to drop an F-bomb during show and tell.”

“So, you admit she’s listening?”

“I admit nothing,” said Jerry. It was a never-ending argument. Somehow the arrival of a miniature person in their lives meant a complete personality overhaul on his part. No more fart jokes. No more swearing. No more hosting poker night with the boys. No more screaming monkey sex in the middle of the afternoon.

Jerry, on the other hand, thought they owed their child the benefit of seeing the real people behind the parental units. Children, he knew, were remarkable little bullshit detectors, and he would be damned if his kid was going to grow up thinking her parents were a couple of phonies.

“Anyway,” he said, “you coddle her too much.”

Tanya’s eyes narrowed and she floored the accelerator.  A wailing sound had begun behind them, and it was picking up in volume. Continue reading

July 3 2014

Just for Giggles



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2005, in the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden at the Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA. Here I am, recreating my ever popular dramatic bedtime rendition of Green Eggs and Ham. Legend has it that my grandfather went to high school with Dr. Seuss. This makes me, if I’m doing my math correctly, 26th in line for the British royal crown.

Or possibly just a guy with an apocryphal family story. One of those.

May 12 2014

Holy $#i+! This Could Be Good!

I am excited about this perhaps more than I should be. Matt Ryan certainly looks the part, even without a lit Silk Cut hanging out of his mouth. Hellblazer was one of my favorite comics in the 90s, consistently well written. I have stalwartly refused to see the Keanu Reeves Constantine simply because it seemed such a betrayal of the basic character (so I can’t and won’t comment on the quality of the movie — other than to say Keanu was bad casting). I am now offering up a silent “pleasepleaseplease” to the universe.

OTOH, I could use another TV obsession like another kidney stone, so I might not complain too harshly if it sucks.

May 8 2014

Thursday Night Writer’s Soundtrack

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Peter for 20+ years. He gets better and better with each year that passes.

May 7 2014


So, I try to maintain a practice of only writing one book at a time. I’m nearing the end of the current project, which of course means the next one has begun jumping up and down in my head, demanding attention. I lay awake for a good chunk of last night as the first chapter played out on the movie screen in my head. This was my experience with the current project, too — it was screaming for attention as I wrapped up the one I’m currently querying. Now, I’m starting to question that practice. Do I give in? Write the chapter for the new thing while it’s still fresh? Or tell it to calm the fuck down while I finish the task at hand?

April 3 2014

Glimmers of Hope

Had my first request for a full manuscript in well over a year on Seraph this week. Now, I just need to remember to breathe deep and not get too lost in fantasy-land. And keep writing.

The new book is getting closer to completion. I’ve begun the build-up to the final confrontations, which is always the point where it gets tempting to rush full-tilt boogie to the end. Again, remember to breathe. And keep writing.

January 3 2014

Friday Night Writer’s Soundtrack — Blown Minded by Young Galaxy

Animated oil paint!

December 29 2013

2013 – Favorites

Note: This is not a “best of” list, nor is it by any means an exhaustive list of favorites. These are the things that have stuck with me this year, in no particular order of preference. Enjoy!

Raiders: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

The wannabe filmmaker in me loved the story of how creative and ingenious Zala and Strompolos were in getting their love letter to Indiana Jones onto film. The human being in me was moved nearly to tears by the story of how in the long run their work ultimately saved their friendship, and at least one of their lives. Above all, this story is a testament to the saving power of art.

Pacific Rim

Not the best film of the year. Some would even argue it was a flop. However, for a boy who used to run home from school every day to catch Voltron and its myriad Japanese cousins, this movie was a dream come true. Guillermo del Torro cements himself as one of my favorite visual storytellers.


The Good Wife

Okay, so  I’m a little late to this party. My wife started watching this on Amazon Prime while I was out of town, but I got sucked in pretty quickly. Great cast, an enviable list of guest performers, and Alan Cumming chewing scenery as only Alan Cumming can. But really, the appeal of this show comes down to the writing, and there are two things about the writing on The Good Wife that stand out:

  • Strong, three-dimensional female characters. And when I say strong, I don’t mean the usual TV “strong female” (i.e. “We write this character as a man from our male perspective, but we cast a woman! See, we’re progressive!!”), but characters who are both comfortable in their skins and stand on equal ground with their male counterparts (and sometimes above them) without having to play the “one of the boys” game.
  • You know that trope where a TV episode will start in the middle of some crisis or conflict involving the main character which leads to a cliffhanger moment, and then the screen goes to black and the words “48 hours earlier” appear? I HATE that trope! It was cute – maybe – the first time I saw it, and now every drama does it at least twice in a season. It’s a phenomenally lazy means of getting a viewer invested in what’s happening that week, and an insult to one’s intelligenceAnd The Good Wife doesn’t resort to it.They’ll draw you in by starting in media res, to be sure. But they don’t then turn around and spoon feed you the beginning (hell, they won’t always tell you they’re starting in the middle, either). They drive on with the story and trust that the interaction between characters and the little ways that they let you into the characters’ inner lives will get you the rest of the way there. See the episode “Death of a Client” to see what I’m talking about (and get the added bonus of a sublime performance from John Noble, who I still think should have received an Emmy nod for his work on Fringe).

tl;dr: This show not only doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence, it seems to have faith in it, which is a nice change of pace.


Marriage Equality

OK, so it’s not a nationwide thing yet. But, it arrived in my home state of New Mexico as an early Christmas present (I thought we were going to have to wait several more years), and then Utah – UTAH!! – quickly followed making for eighteen states where love=love. Period. This train has left the station, and I couldn’t be happier.

Happy 2014, everyone!

September 9 2013

No Voyaging

Harper Voyager said “No” to Seraph. It’s disappointing, but not unexpected. I’m querying Tor, next.

May 16 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness — spoiler free review

A great cast was handed not so much a script as a dump that Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof took all over everything good about Star Trek. A terrible movie was then made. Lazy, anger-inducing writing. Frequent slaps in the face to fans of the classic series. I left the theater angry. Save your money.