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Clara Barton’s Office of Missing Soldiers

I write to you from a hotel just outside my nation’s Capitol, dear readers. As part of my son’s education, we arranged with his aunt, my sister, to meet here and tour the many sites and memorials herein. The plunge back in time began Friday morning, with some time spent in the forests and fields of Gettysburg, PA, where the men of our nation were once pitted against one another in bitter struggle. It was a fitting beginning to our day, to remind us of what once was, before we drove on to Washington DC and first glimpsed the bustle of the city. Read more

Amazon Panic AGAIN


I was going to write something completely different — sorry Phantom, again — but last night just before I went to bed I saw the beginnings of another Amazon panic. Again.

Look, I understand this. We’re dependent on and at the mercy of Amazon, and the more money we make, the more we fear what they can do to stop it.  I GET it.

But this case is even flakier than former panics.  So, stand by. Read more

Oops! Fifth Friday, and No One has a Post!

So put up a link to your books in the comments.

I’ll start with the first book in a series, and the most recent.

I is disgraced

I have committed a terrible sin against her royal highness Princess Buttercup. I closed a door and she was on the other side of it. She has been informing me of my sins for the last ten minutes or so.

If you couldn’t guess, this is a household where the feline rules. The “no doors” rule has been around forever – I have “fond” memories of the first night in a new house where there were only room AC units and Miss Shani Fluffypants took umbrage at being shut out. She was the kitty with no voice, so instead of crying at the door, she hit it until one of us got up and let her in. Read more

To Re-Write, Re-Cast or Re-Vise, that is the Question


Almost every writer runs into this sooner or later: you start with great hopes, the story is bowling along. And then either it stops dead and you’re not sure why. (And you can’t get past, even if you want to.) OR and this is arguably worse, you finish the book, but it feels so wrong you don’t even want it out where people will see it.

At which point, you have a choice: discard or change it.

But how do you change it? Do you, having realized you need a climatic scene go in and insert it? Change your male to female? Or vice versa? Or should you ditch the whole thing and rewrite it from scratch? Read more

Lay of the Land

I love my people. And there are six adults, two children, and a malamute in my house right now, and I’m losing my mind just a shred or two faster than I would otherwise. Our neck of the woods starts school later than many others, and so Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave won’t be starting their respective classes until next week (and I’ve just realized they almost certainly aren’t ready, or rather, we aren’t ready for them to start) and they’ve got the End Of Summer antsy-ness going on. All of which are decidedly back-burner-ing the ol’ writing. Read more

Don’t Be A Jackass

Last week, Sarah wrote about status, achievement and diplomacy. I’ll admit, she was much nicer about it than I would have been. It is something she and I have talked about a great deal over the years of our acquaintance. The discussions usually begin with something along the lines of “Can you believe. . . .” and relate to some author’s antics on social media. Read more


I’ve just had my version of a hot curry. Now, every single Indian friend of mine just fell off their chair laughing. My Bangladeshi friend I am sure is rolling on the floor. Because honestly, their reaction to it would probably be something like: “Be quite tasty if it had any chili in it.” Or “Bit mild.”

Read more

Unraveling the story

This one’s not a how-to; this one’s a request for help. Have you ever put down something you blocked hard on, only to pick it up months or years later, and go “Oh! That’s where it went wrong! …well, and there, too. And I could have done that better. And that’s not quite right… I should explore this bit of worldbuilding, and flesh that out…”

If so, how do you decide when to edit, when to rewrite, and when to rip the characters out and start anew?
Read more

Award Winning!

The Mad Genius Club has been awarded with a Neffy.

I realize I may be biased, but as I sit here and contemplate the folks who write for this site – I am the least of them – I think it’s well-deserved. For over a decade, over four thousand posts, this blog has existed to help writers. By writers, for writers. Sure, we all cover a lot more ground than that, but it’s the driving force behind the continued existence. I can’t speak for anyone else, but even when I struggle to maintain my own blog, I make darn sure I’m writing here, because it’s a joy to give back to the community that supported me as I struggled to break into the writing world. Read more