Category Archives: Writer

An interview by Paul Dorset

Lately, I really have been blessed with the attention I’ve been getting as an independent author. Here’s a link to a fun little interview by Paul Dorset (real name John Cox) did with me. Paul writes for his blog, “Utterences of an Overcrowded Mind,” and is a widely published indie author in his own right! Indie authors support each other!

Thank you very much, Paul for the opportunity to share my thoughts on writing with your readers.

My Interview with Neil Haley

I had the pleasure and honor to speak with one of the country’s top educational radio talk show personalities, Neil Haley of Total Education Radio about the Left Hand of Light. Our conversation can be found here in MP3 format.

My interview starts at about 30 minutes in, so fast forward if you don’t have a lot of time.

Lesson learned: Never forget to promote one’s web site. It sounds cheesy when I hear it on the radio, but its effective and it works and its the best way for people that want to hear what you have to say to find you! I can’t believe I forgot even after Neil asked me to! 😛

Long time coming

ImageIts been 30 years in the making, but The Left Hand of Light is almost complete! The book will be coming out this Thanksgiving. I know many of you have been patiently waiting for its arrival and I am blessed to have so many that are interested in the book. I hope it will inspire you and move you as much as it has me.

Now comes the technical part: Transforming the work into e-book and print-on-demand formats.

Then will come the hard part: Convincing you to buy a few copies!

Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling

English: Pixar Animation Studios company logo ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For you writers out there, a friend of mine pointed me to a great link that describes 22 “rules” for storytelling that is a great tool for validating your own story line against. A Pixar artist named Emma Coats apparently learned these from her colleagues and tweeted these in the form of “story basics” back in 2011.

I especially like #4 because it’s a great tool to help you figure out your entire story in the form of a 30 second elevator speech!

#7 also resonates with me because I like to know where I’m going before I get there. That was exactly how I wrote The Left Hand of Light!

Inspiration is supernatural

What if inspiration comes from ghosts whispering in our ears?

Moving to the finish

Its finally finished. The edits to the THE LEFT HAND OF LIGHT are complete. Its been a long and transformational journey. I have spent more tears than I knew I had in me. Soon it will be time to share this effort with you. I’m anxious. I’m excited. I can’t help but wonder what you all will think of this thing I have created. Creating art forces one to stand naked before the world. When you read it, will you see me? Have I revealed too much? Will it evoke in you what it does in me every time I turn its pages?

Let’s find out together. Always together.

First Excerpt from THE LEFT HAND OF LIGHT

Hello, all! As I continue to put the finishing touches on “The Left Hand of Light,” here’s a little taste of what I’ve been working on. In this case, the opening lines of the story. More to come soon. Enjoy!

The poem at the end of this book, a Shakespearean style sonnet, was scratched into the notebook of a patient housed in a sanatorium known as Port Angel between 1886 and 1899. Though witnesses believed the patient engaged in what some refer to as automatic writing, experts disagree on whether the child, a young boy, could have authored the work, since he had been born in a catatonic state and had never been taught to read or write. He died the same year attendants discovered the poem, having never awoken from the coma he spent his life in.
The more fanatical figures of the time considered the boy to be a prophet. The controversy only grew when Port Angel was abandoned during a hurricane and the journal was lost. Rumors contended that the words scrawled on the final pages of the notebook were, “We will remember.”

La Mesa Book Fair Today

Today’s the book fair! Made my first sale, like ever already 🙂


Story Structuring Software

Now that I’ve hired a professional editor to help me with The Left Hand of Light (thanks, Larry Edwards!) I need to go hands-off for awhile while he works his editorial magic. (“Version control,” he says, “is critical.”)

That gives me some time to consider my next novel. For this new work, I want to really focus on structure, which I was taught is important to any good story, but has been really difficult for me to understand and appreciate until after I went through the laborious process of actually writing a long piece.

To this end, I am researching various software apps to help with story structure. I’ve been downloading and testing several apps all day. Contour looks clean and simple, but uses only a single structure based on a simplified model for screenplays. Price isn’t bad though. Save the Cat! has some interesting features but feels a bit clunky on the screen. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it feels like a toy. Dramatica Pro is probably the most in-depth structuring app of the lot and the word is that it has a steep learning curve. It has a clunky old-looking interface, but contains enough information about story structure that its almost like a creative writing class all by itself! Tempting, but also the most expensive of the bunch. Finally, there’s Power Structure, which has all the features of Contour, plus a few more structures (including plays, novels and TV screenplays.) Its list price is outrageous, but Amazon offers up to 75% off which brings it roughly to the price of Contour. It offers some helpful hints like Dramatica Pro, but with less theory. Easier to use, but less education built in.

I’m still undecided. I’ll post here as I make some choices, which will be VERY soon. I don’t like to dawdle. If anyone has used any of these products, I’d love to hear your experiences. Amazon reviewers are hit-and-miss.

Let’s make art!

My writing is inspired by music

Every writer has different techniques that inspires them to write their stories. I have realized that I’m soundtrack-driven. That means that when I listen to a particularly interesting song I imagine a scene of a story playing out as the music plays, just like a soundtrack in a movie. Then I feel compelled to put that scene to paper and to work out what happened before to bring that scene about and what happened after.

I wrote “The Left Hand of Light” this way. It started with a single song, called “Sweet Lullaby (Ambient Mix)” by Deep Forest.

I listened to this song–literally–over and over again for hours as the climatic battle scene played out in my mind. I recall a trip I drove to Las Vegas and this was the only song I played the entire way home. Sweet Lullaby inspired not only the epic battle between the Light and the Darkness but also the song that the blind shaman Afunakwa sings to Michael through the silver string that connects Jaylina to her soul during his darkest hour. There’s just something about this song that makes me feel we are all connected, those of us here alive in the universe and those that have already crossed to the other side.

Another great song, Crayon Dreams, by Stian Stark, was the inspiration for the scene where Jaylina meets her never-born son for the first time in Otherworld. Its hard for me not to get emotional (damn it!) when I read that scene while this music plays. Crayon Dreams is a free download by the way, and I suggest everyone add it to their playlist.

Lastly, from the same soundtrack on the Crayon Physics Deluxe game, I found Lullaby, by _ghost. This is another free download that inspired the scenes where Jaylina explores the astral plane with Michael and Martin Clayhous Martin for the first time, and really almost every scene in the astral plane.

Good writers use whatever inspires them to create. Music works for me. I especially love ethereal music without words, or in languages I can’t understand. It keeps my mind open and the ideas moving. What works for you?