The “A-ha!” Moment in Writing

 

You see this?

BrickWall1

If for some reason you don’t, this is a brick wall. I sometimes come across them when I’m writing. Nothing—and I mean, nothing—is more frustrating than knowing the direction you want a story to go, but you are staring at this instead:

BrickWall1

This sucks.

I felt like I’d been staring at one of these with The Ghost Rebellion. Don’t get me wrong. I have an idea of where Pip and I want to head with this next Ministry adventure, but I found myself staring at that wall, thinking “All right, I know where I am at presently. I know the next point I need to reach. How do I get there?” I am working the grey cells, running bullet points from notes, setting up scenes, asking questions I’ve written on the white board again and again… Continue reading

Post Mortem: The Unsolved Mystery of True Detective, Season 2

True-Detective-Season-2-Vince-VaughnI’ve really been struggling with this.

I am trying to get my words down as eloquently and succinctly as possible. I’m a writer. It’s what I do.

When I come to this blog, I bestow advice, make commentary on the world, and express opinions in such a manner that is professional (or at least represents my professionalism) and reflects this command over the English language that I have been blessed with. However, I find myself really having a tough time with this.

There’s really no other way to put it…

Sweet crap, that was terrible.

Maybe some details are needed at this point… Continue reading

Cover Reveal — Nick Kelly’s Catwalk: Lineage

IMG_4643Nick Kelly is no stranger to this blog. You may have remembered his blogpost back in March when he talked about “crossing the line” in writing. The book he was talking about then was Catwalk: Messiah, his first novel and one I had the pleasure of reading this summer.

Best described as “cyber-noir” or perhaps Blade Runner if Marvel Studios produced it, Catwalk: Messiah follows Leon “Catwalk” Caliber, a former Washington D.C. cop, now hired hit man on the west coast of the United States. You would think being a gun-for-hire in a sprawling megapolis of the future would be complicated enough, but Catwalk is good at what he does on account of the cybernetics that not only keeps him alive but also enhances his physical abilities.

The cost isn’t too bad…until you take into account that every enhancement replaces part of his humanity. Now, Cat has to keep hold of what makes him human lest he becomes what he hunts.

Nick and I have talked a lot about his first novel; and never at a loss for words, Nick and I will probably be talking over a scotch or three about what’s coming soon from his dark, twisted imagination… Continue reading

Villains and Why We Love Them

Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC's The Musketeers.Last night, I was watching The Musketeers, the new BBC series featuring Peter Capaldi rocking the Van Dyke and redefining diabolical as Cardinal Richelieu. He’s pretty badass in The Musketeers, but not chewing the scenery or twirling his mustache (which I would imagine is hard to resist because dat stache!) kind of way. Capaldi is working the dialogue like a boss and creating a foil against our heroes that makes you sit up and take notice. There’s a mind and a motivation you connect with on a visceral level, and sometimes it’s difficult to take a side against Richelieu as he makes villainy look really, really good.

That and the wardrobe. And did I mention DAT STACHE?

Watching Capaldi in this role has me of late considering villains, what makes them compelling versus comical characters, and why they are so important in writing.

Your villains—or antagonists, if you want to use the fancier term for “bad guys”— are as high a priority to develop as your heroes. They need to resonate with you, lest they reduce themselves to nothing more than set dressing hell bent on destroying said set along with any major players that happen to be in the vicinity. Continue reading

Happy Valentine’s Day from Billibub Baddings!

ind-ratpackToday marks the seventh anniversary of the first episode of The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery. I still remember when I first put together the first episode, and then moved along to create the following four episodes. I remember the email to the creative mind behind Rubber Band Banjo who was gracious enough to offer his music as the theme to Billi’s podcast. It was 2007 and still podcasting was a wild frontier. Back in 2005, it was me, Scott Sigler, and Mark Jeffrey as the Three Musketeers of Podiobooks. Two years later, it was me, Scott, and new guy J.C. Hutchins, and we were dubbed “The Rat Pack of Podcasting.”

I was Dean.

So how does one celebrate a podcast’s anniversary? For me — I launch a Kickstarter. Continue reading

How an Action Hero is Made: “Thanks for the Memories” Now Available from Kindle Worlds and Valiant Comics

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.54.21 PMLast week, I gave you a quick run down of my wild and crazy July writing for Valiant Comics as part of the Kindle Worlds program from Amazon. My first offering was from the Harbinger universe, entitled “What’s in a Code Name.” The story, inspired by Harbinger Wars #2, dug deeper into Harbinger Institute’s star student, Daniel Hessler or “Ion,” and his own story with fellow Anoisaibushi, Susan Adams, code name “Saturn.” It’s already received a review after its first week, and I welcome more! Please, go on and take a look…

…after you consider my latest Kindle Worlds novella, “Thanks for the Memories” featuring Bloodshot. Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XXI

Heading home, and I’ve got 21 for this entry; so Double Down if you can.

Yesterday was a day I want to put behind me, but I admit it was a crossroad kind of day. Revelations. Lapses of reason. Manning up. And as pissy as I felt, I find out I have a friend — you know, one of those best kinds — facing a shut storm that reduced my day to just a chocolate drizzle. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

Something tells me you’re reading this, bro. Don’t go stealth on me. You were there for me. My turn now…

Today, I was dealt a few pleasant surprises. Discovered more folks in my corner. Got validation on a few things gnawing at me. And then there was the writing. It just feels great being back in this world, and I am planning to go farther. I was in full stride today, and now I have to wonder if I can pick that stride up tonight.

I’m not worried about it. That surprises me a bit. I don’t know. Should it?

Getting ready for work this morning, I purposefully chose this shirt. Part of me was worried it would send the wrong message, but I wanted this message for me. I needed some reassurance, and Kal-El’s never let me down, sour sequels and a heartless reboot not withstanding. Maybe Supes was the boy scout of the JLA…but he was the boy scout that you could always count on. Today was my facing down of dragons. I’m good.

Superman or Raiders of the Lost Ark — which one has the more iconic fanfare, you think?

Whatever. Both kick ass.

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The Dwarf Detective is on the iPhone, waiting for your call!

Hey, everyone!

New Singing Sword Cover

cover artwork by J.R. Blackwell

While you all know that the dwarf detective is one for the low-tech solutions like Beatrice and a good battle-axe, you may not know that the award-winning The Case of The Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery is now available for the iPhone! Sure you can download Billi on the iPhone and iPod Touch in audio but now you can pick up a copy of Billi’s first big case as an iPhone application. Along with The Case of The Singing Sword, the Fey Trickster is also causing (double) trouble at the iTunes Store with Chasing the Bard also available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Take a look and show the love. Let iPhone and iPod Touch users know that Double Trouble has now hit the iTunes Application store.

And yes, The Case of The Pitcher’s Pendant and Digital Magic are both en route. Stay tuned…