Today’s post on novel length, “Turns Out, Length Really Does Matter…” can be found at, the group blog I maintain with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  Please visit the site and enjoy today’s post.

Crazy Weather

March 28, 2009

Crazy weather here.  Storms, winds, torrential rain.  And now it’s clear as can be and thirty degrees colder than it was this afternoon.  There were tornado warnings all around us and throughout our county this evening, but we’re all fine.  I hope all my friends in and around Nashville are all right, too.

Finally took the plunge and ordered my iMac tonight.  I should have it by next week.  I’m very excited.

Now if someone can just tell me how to get my Outlook Express (not real Outlook, but the Express version) information over to the Mac platform, I’ll be most grateful….

A Couple of Photos

March 25, 2009

So, here are a couple of the photos I’ve taken in the past few days.  There’s a small hollow near where we live — it’s actually called Shakerag Hollow, because once upon a time you could go down there in the evening, wave a small white cloth, and thus signal to local moonshiners that you were in the market for their wares.  Alas, this is no longer an option….

Shakerag Hollow is filled with wildflowers every spring, and spring is creeping into the hills of Tennessee even as we speak.  I use a Canon 40D digital SLR camera with a 24-105mm lens mounted with both extension tubes and a Canon 500D close-up filter.  These attachments allow me to get extreme close-ups without sacrificing clarity.  I mount the whole set-up on a Bogen 3001 tripod with a Kirk BH-3 ball head.

The first photo is of a Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) growing out of the skeleton of an old downed tree branch.  Everything was covered with dew that morning, so you can see water droplets on the flower and leaves.

This second picture was taken that same morning.  These are simply dew drops on the leaves of Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), but somehow the angle of the early morning sun has refracted the light, giving the water that incredible color.  It looks like I spilled juice on these leaves, but I swear, it’s just water.  And in fact, I didn’t realize what I had until I got home and looked at the pictures.  But I love the effect.

I really ought to have something to say, but I don’t.  I watched Obama’s presser and thought he did great, but I don’t feel like blogging about it because, frankly, I don’t have the energy for a political fight with my friends on the right. 

I’ve spent the last few days taking and processing pictures, and that’s been great.  I have some gems from the small hollow I hike in.  Wildflowers are blooming here and the place looks gorgeous.  But there’s not much I can add to that. 

I’m waiting for word on the new book.  Not much more to say about that, either.

I feel boring as hell, and I apologize.  I’ll try to offer more tomorrow.

Two Posts

March 23, 2009

Fresh off of a small vacation, I’m jumping in with both feet this Monday morning.  I’d like to direct your attention to two posts that I’ve put up today, both of them geared toward writing and writers.  The first can be found at, the group blog I maintain with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C. E. Murphy.  It’s kind of a nuts and bolts piece called “Why Divide Your Books Into Chapters?”  The post grew out of a question from a reader about whether chapter breaks were necessary.  This is my response.
The second can be found at, another group site I share with approximately one hundred other professional writers of fantasy and science fiction.  This post, “For Whom Do We Write?” is more philosophical than the first.  It deals with questions of creativity; where the impulse to create comes from and how it ought to be harnessed.
I hope you’ll visit both sites, and I hope you enjoy the posts.

A Good Trip, But….

March 22, 2009

Well, we’re back from Savannah, and I have to say that it is truly a marvelous city.  For those of you who don’t know, the city is laid out as a grid, with each section of the grid built around a square of green space.  Most of the squares have a statue or a fountain or a monument at their center, and all of them are filled with magnificent Live Oak trees, their branches covered with Spanish Moss.  Stately old homes and churches surround the squares; some of the homes have been converted to museums; others remain privately owned (I can’t even begin to imagine what one of them might sell for).  Most of them date from the early 19th century; all of them are beautifully maintained.   We walked all over the city, stopping in to view some of the museums, shopping in antique shops, and eating lots of great food.  During the three days we were in the city, we didn’t once use our car — we were able to walk everywhere, and the girls didn’t even complain.  Of course, we kept them well plied with ice cream and salt-water taffy, which helped a lot….

My one complaint:  Any of you know what no-see-ums are?  They’re also referred to as biting midges.  Look in your dictionary at the letter “l” in any entry — that’s how big they are.  Don’t let their size fool you, though.  They’re vicious.  You can’t see them until you feel the sting of a bite, which, in and of itself, isn’t too painful.  But then the fun begins.  A small welt rises where the little bugger bit you.  It itches like mad, so you scratch it a bit.  A moment or two later the welt is the size of a penny and the itch is driving you nuts.  But you’re having trouble focusing on that one because you’ve just felt that same like sting in about eighteen other places:  your forearm, your scalp, your leg, in between two knuckles, on your wrist, on your neck . . .  You get the idea.

Worst of all, the bites are as persistent as flea bites.  I’m still covered with welts several days after the worst of the no-see-um swarms, and all of them still itch.

So, yeah, I had a great time in Savannah.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the bugs made this trip a bit harder to enjoy.  I need to remember that the Southeast coast in mid-March, while lovely in terms of the weather, is also prime no-see-um country.  I had this problem at Cumberland Island two years ago and at Hilton Head six years ago, but I thought that being in a city would make this trip different.  I was wrong.  And I have the welts to prove it.

Just checking in.  We’re in Savannah right now, enjoying the sights, eating some very, very good food, and doing a lot of walking around in what has to be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen.

Hope all of you are well.

Today’s post on my creative process can be found at the blog site of my good friend and fellow fantasy writer S.L. Farrell.  Steve is having a number of us fantasists stop by as part of his “Capturing The Elusive Novel” series. So visit his site and enjoy the post.

Today’s post, “What’s Next?” can be found at, the group site I share with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  Please visit the site and enjoy the post.