Writing

Cartoon sketch of a mad scientist holding a green test tube

Science Fiction Thought Experiment: Fun with Total Eclipses Stephanie J. Pajonas is a science fiction author and Facebook friend, part of the estimable SFR Brigade. She recently posed this question: “Would it be possible for a [habitable] world to have a large moon that traveled slowly enough around it that it caused long solar eclipses?” Now me, […]

Cover art of a Brother Cadfael mystery

The old adage, “write what you know,” is a good place to start for some writers. Unfortunately, it’s used by some critics, editors, and even writers themselves as a straight-jacket stricture to mean, “write ONLY what you know.” That is egregious nonsense. No science fiction would ever have been written, because if it hasn’t happened […]

Calligraphic Ornament

Chapters and Breaks in Fiction… I don’t know quite how to categorize this post, because it’s partly me as a reader with opinions, and partly me as an author with opinions, too. Chapter Breaks, Time Jumps, POV Changes, and other Sticky Wickets Few things throw me out of the story faster than realizing the last […]

Plans for 2015

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll already know some of this, but I thought I’d share my plans for 2015 a more public venue. Also, it’s self-motivational, in that I’d like to keep my promises. The Central Galactic Concordance Series Some readers have been kind enough to ask what’s next in the Central Galactic […]

Author Resources for 2015

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a reader rather than an author, but some of you wear both hats (hi there, welcome the club), or would like to. Since writing is a business, whether you do it independently as I do, or for a publisher, I thought I’d point you to some author resources for […]

Read More SF Romance

Why You Should Read More Science Fiction Romance in 2015 Five reasons you should read more science fiction romance (SFR) in 2015. For those new to the term, in my book (oh look, humor!), SFR balances plot threads involving futuristic technology and the growth of the emotional relationship between the main characters.*   Discover new authors, and […]

Fiction Categories and Keywords

Thoughts About Fiction Categories and Keywords We humans love patterns – they’re a time saver, so we don’t have to make the same decision each time we come across something new.  “Look at that big tawny cat,” thought a dimwitted ancestor, “I saw one pounce on and eat a gazelle last month. I’m not a […]

Character Flaws vs. Flawed Characters in Romance Writing

On Writing Romance: Character Flaws vs. Flawed Characters Pet Peeves, Round 2This is another in my “reader’s pet peeves” series, primarily in the romance genre. (In case you missed it, here was my previous post on pet peeves.) I’m rather annoyed by impossibly beautiful heroines/heroes who don’t know they’re beautiful, and successful people who don’t […]

Writing Book Blurbs

  Fiction book blurbs—more properly described as “book descriptions”—are hard to write. Whether they’re on the back of the paperback or the first part of the ebook listing, they’re the first taste of what’s in the book, and they will make or break the sale. They have to confirm the genre (the cover should be […]

Make My Heroes Beta, Please

Alpha heroes abound throughout genre fiction, and nowhere more blatantly than in the romance genre and all its subcategories. If it’s all the same to you, I’ll take a beta hero any day, thanks.    OK, that sounds a little snarky, but I’m kind of over the whole larger-than-life, my-way-or-the-highway, macho male role and the […]

On Cover Design for Fiction Novels, Part 1

This is a two-part post written primarily for other independent authors on cover design for fiction novels, with personal opinions and experience galore. There’s a lot to cover (heh!), so let’s dive right in. Great Cover Design Sells Books Fiction covers, experts will tell you, will make or break a sale before the reader even […]

Good Books for 2014 and Beyond

Good Books for 2014 and Beyond, or What’s RIGHT with Books These Days It’s easy to kvetch about what’s wrong with books these days, and I’m certainly guilty of it. To be fair, I thought I should balance my complaints with some praise about what I think authors are doing right, considering this is 2014, […]

Pet Peeves About Romance Novels

There are things that drive me crazy about romance novels these days. When I was ready (OK, driven) to write a science fiction/action series that starts with Overload Flux, it came to me as I outlined the story arc that all the planned novels involve romantic elements. Along with science fiction, action, and mysteries, I’ve read a […]

Three Writing Tools I Can't Do Without

A friend and fellow traveler as an independent author asked what three writing tools I couldn’t do without, so here’s my list. I’ll focus on tools for fiction writing for now, because the list varies when we’re talking about writing plays, screenplays, or technical documents.   For capturing and sketching out ideas, I start with […]