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Show Your Work!

 Yesterday’s blog post started as a long caption on Instagram, under a photo of my writing tools. I was sharing my stoke over starting a new novel–in the only way I can since I won’t say what it’s about until I have a draft–but I was also answering a prompt from Austin Kleon’s handy little book,  Show… Read more »

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Sarah M. Chen’s Redondo Beach Noir

When a booze cruise goes wrong, Finn Roose, L.A’s most debauched restaurant manager, finds himself at the center of a missing persons case, unable to lie or charm his way out of it. To clear his name, he must navigate the seedy underbelly of Redondo Beach while holding down a job as part of its… Read more »

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What I’ve Been Reading–one Month into my Book Diet

Last month, I started a “reading diet.” The idea comes from Ray Bradbury who recommended that the aspiring read one short story, one poem, and one essay every day, and one novel per week. I’m reckoning with something I wish I had known a long time ago, that reading is part of your workday as a writer. It’s not laziness… Read more »

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Hemingway Collection at the JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway didn’t travel light. His baggage included a modern art collection, books, drinking accessories, an impressive gun collection, and the heads and pelts of his hunting kills. Always on the move, he schlepped it all through three wars, four marriages, two plane crashes, and many homes. His writing style itself left a tremendous paper-trail… Read more »

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Elmore Leonard’s Most Important Rule for Writing

Elmore Leonard had one rule that summed up his famous 10 rules of writing: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”     You can find the other 10 in Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing which includes illustrations and examples of writers who break his rules brilliantly.

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Hemingway, Refugees, and Writing with Emotion

In 1922, Hemingway was in Greece reporting for the Toronto Star on the evacuation of Thrace and the refugee crisis that followed. He used some of his memories and notes from the trip as material for In Our Time, his first collection of short stories.   Hemingway’s war reporting appears in italics between his stories…. Read more »

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Norman Mailer on Trolls and Critics

The Spooky Art, Norman Mailer’s book on the art and business of writing, is a lost classic of the writing advice genre. Like Mailer himself, it’s brilliant, frustrating, and full of fist-fighting analogies. What’s cool about this title is that it was written for working writers and advanced amateurs. You won’t find much in the… Read more »

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Autumn Reading: My Massachusetts Bookshelf

Today was perfect reading weather on Cape Cod: Grey and wet with northeast winds and a small craft warning out on the water. It’s good to be home in the fall and surrounded by my books. Here are my top home-state reads. Mystic River -Dennis Lehane (fiction) The movie (more specifically Sean Penn’s back tattoos) helped put… Read more »

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Cormac McCarthy: a Reading List

Cormac McCarthy is a mentor I’ve never met. We all have one of those, a teacher who sends us on a quest to seek our teacher’s teacher’s teacher. Here is an ever-growing reading list of my informal study of McCarthy and his influences. I’ll be updating the list on Goodreads.   FICTION The Novels of… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“I like grit, I like love and death, I’m tired of irony.” ― Jim Harrison Seth Godin on failing ’til you don’t (featuring van Gogh’s Ramsgate.) The 40-hour workweek is bad for business.  The art of the pitch parts I & II over at Steven Pressfield’s blog. On Being tells you Why You Haven’t Written Your… Read more »