Vexed in the City: Escape to the Morgan Library

What’s worse than getting the flu–miserable aches, pounding head, bone-splintering chills, a fever you stubbornly endure until it flirts with 104 and you can almost hear your brain fluid begin to bubble? Having to go on a business trip the day after your fever breaks. Irritated at being forced to break my three-year streak of not … More Vexed in the City: Escape to the Morgan Library

In-Flight Entertainment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Stories

Epiphany struck me 35,000 over Chicago. Dimmed lights in the plane cabin made my laptop screen glow conspicuously on the tiny tray table, an invitation to judge over my shoulder, but I didn’t have time for self-consciousness. I had revisions to finish. Faced with a cross-country business trip, I’d assigned myself a travel project of … More In-Flight Entertainment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Stories

Review: “Ancillary Sword” by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Sword lacks some sharpness, but still holds an edge as unique science fiction literature. The story resumes where its predecessor Ancillary Justice left off. Breq, now captain of an imperial ship, embarks on an errand to a neighboring star system where social conflicts simmer. Leckie seems determined to include the panoply of trending laments: colonialism, the plight … More Review: “Ancillary Sword” by Ann Leckie

Review: “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke

“Seriously?” I deadpanned, startling my Laddie from his bedtime Kindle doze. My own e-reader cast its moonbeam light on my pillow, emanating a serenity I didn’t share. “We finally get a female character and the first thing they talk about is her breasts?” This irritating discovery wasn’t completely unexpected. When I launcher a personal initiative … More Review: “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke

How to Write a Novel, Part 6: World of Wordcraft

Words are more than just a vehicle for our stories. They’re a writer’s medium. We paint with prose and sculpt with sentences. Language is like some ancient, malleable magic we channel into an infinite number of spells. It sets scenes, establishes character, and conveys action. But a true mage goes beyond these essential functions. The right words can evoke sensory experiences, … More How to Write a Novel, Part 6: World of Wordcraft

How to Write a Novel, Part 4: Opening Lines and First Chapters

Years ago, I read a fantasy novel my sister recommended. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the genre, I thought it would be fun for us to follow a series together, so I tackled the dense paperback. The first few pages didn’t grip me. Neither did the first few chapters. “It starts slow, but … More How to Write a Novel, Part 4: Opening Lines and First Chapters