On Perpetrators and Puzzlement

We’ve all seen a puzzled neighbor or family member interviewed after some horrific killing or act saying “I don’t get it; he was the nicest guy. Never a problem.” “Yeah,” I’d snort to myself, “I’d have seen something.” Nah. I went to a liberal Orthodox Jewish school (an oxymoron today) back in Riverdale. Or, as […]

Alternative Histories

Authors of Alternative History novels (and TV series) often hinge on specific events: what would happen if Hitler won? After all, the Nazis were close on more than one occasion. Or if the creation story of Jesus never coalesced? Or, in one of my works in progress, Jewish Qabala really worked, starting with descendants of […]

On fidelity in world-building

It’s hard to create a new world, complete with languages, people, and the minutiae that separates the reality that is our planet and its history. In a recent population analysis of GoT, Lyman Stone drills into deathly detail on how impossible George RR Martin’s world is. Marshall Ryan Maresca has written scads of posts on worldbuilding (here’s just […]

From the bottom of the writing/critiquing well…

I’m watching other writers and their blog posts. Some are regular as clockwork—it’s part of their marketing campaign, their name branding, and they’ve got more time (and definitely more discipline) to keep on that track. I’ll need to do it as well—just not yet, please. Speaking of discipline, I’ve talked with a whole bunch of […]

Why Charlottesville 2017 is not Berlin 1933

This is my professional blog. I had non-professional blogs once; Facebook takes care of that need now. I do a lot of tongue-biting when something happens in the world and I’ve got this (rather unbully) pulpit from which to vent. However this is a topic that should appear everywhere, in every possible setting, for discussion […]

On Short Stories and Novellas

One of the agents with whom I spoke at the recent Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference expressed interest in a set of short stories if I could also stick a novella in there. At least, that’s what I thought he said, but it was loud… Anyway, I’m already shopping “Upline,” a story […]

Words, Books, Memory

As a Jewish atheist I enjoy the rituals of my people. While I don’t enjoy laying t’fillin (putting on phylacteries)—although I remember how—I’ve always had a visceral sense memory when seeing or touching the prayer book my dad used. I have the second one he had in my lifetime. The first, a Shiloh edition daily prayer book, […]

Bravery

I have a character in the short story ShutEye who gives her life for a love she knows she can never have, because it’s the right thing for the greater good. There’s a character in Best Shot (being shopped) who will do anything to get the right photo. These characters are trivial, flickering shadows in comparison […]

Nazi Anything

Sometimes writing takes a back seat, as it should, to reality. We spend a lot of time, in this Trumpian, Facebookish era, endlessly macerating previous texts, quotes, and media. It’s easier, it’s true, to quote others than to write one’s own clever words. Of course, some folks’ clever words will stand for ages: People shouldn’t be afraid […]