A small update- working on “The Xildjian Codes”

fire-typewriter2I have not been blogging much lately, but there is a very good reason for this, which is that I am spending my time working on my new novel, The Xildjian Codes. The Xildjian Codes is a bit of a departure for me. It is neither a supernatural pulp thriller like VampCon, nor is it a collection of contemporary literary short fiction, like Bringing Ararat.

Instead, it is a novel set in Eastern Europe that blends suspense and history, and might appeal to fans of David Benoiff’s “City of Thieves” or Alan Furst’s “The Spies of Warsaw.”

I am nearly done with the first draft and, moving at the speed of a glacier (my usual speed), I hope the have thing wrapped up before 2017. I will endeavor to do a a better job of posting updates here.

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Quotable Douglas Adams!


“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”

“And are you?”

“No. That’s where it all falls down of course.”

**I just finished rereading (for the 4th time) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Adams was witty, funny, sarcastic. He carried a wonderful sense of the absurd. His work may have been in the genre of comic sci-fi, but his commentary is on the modern human condition.

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More quotable Melville

Yes- I am still reading Moby Dick…

here is another great quote from Melville:

There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.

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Quotable Melville


Herman Melville, on the Sisyphean task of novel writing:

“….God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught- nay, but a draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash and Patience!”

– Melville, Moby Dick. Chapter 32.(1851)

**Ironically, this “draught of a draught” is none other than Moby Dick.


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The library of never finished books

The Library of Lost Books.

The library of Dreams.

In his famous Sandman comics, author Neil Gaiman presents Lucien, Morpheus’ librarian, who watches over the library of the Dreaming- all the books that were dreamed of but never written.

This reminds me of one of the peculiar burdens of novel writing, which is that novels take years to write, ergo I can only write a few of these in my life, ergo there will be so very many books and story ideas that I will either abandon or never write down.

This is not to say that other forms of writing, poetry or blogging say, are any easier. It’s just that you can put together a lot of poems or blogs posts in the amount of time it takes to write a novel.

Here’s to the books that I never started or never finished.

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Pictures and Small Spoilers: 6 reasons to admire James Robinson’s Starman from the 90’s

I have already gone on at some length about Starman from the 90’s, so rather than go into detail, let’s just make with the pictures:

Reason 1- Starman has a regular barber:

Time for a haircut I'd say.

Time for a haircut I’d say.

Reason 2- People over 60 have sex. In this case, the original, golden-age Sandman and his wife:

"Now Wes..."

“Now Wes…”

Reason 3- Two words: “the Shade”:



Reason 4- A loving tribute to Art Deco!:


Reason 5- Splash pages full of nifty architecture:


Opal City in all its glory. A full page in the comic.

Opal City in all its glory. A full page in the comic.

Reason 6- Some of the best plot twists ever!:


Sands: “Well, would you sell the shirt? What about that?”…. Starman: “Yeah. All right. I guess.” (Why fight the villain when you can just sell them what they want?)


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Writing Acceptances 2014

therightstuff_lightstuffI try to spend more time writing than thinking about writing, but it’s inevitable that my thoughts will turn to this task I have adopted and to all the emotions and implications that surround it.

To address this, I keep a small journal in which I update my thoughts on writing. In fact, journal is a generous term, it’s more like a loose collections of thoughts and affirmations that I revisit and revise every three to six months. As of late, I have been at it again. Below are my 2014 affirmations, acceptances, and/or mantras in regard to my writing life:

1- As punk rocker Frank Turner states: “The only thing that’s left to do is to live.” When I am done writing and working hard to promoting my writing, I need to let it go and enjoy life itself. I need to tackle my chores with a clear head and to enjoy life now (as obvious as that sounds), not in some hypothetical future that may never be. I need to enjoy my children and coffee and family trips and playing board games and sandwiches and reading now.

2- Trying to be be clever is an act of vanity. The biggest problem with the internet is that it sells me daily on the idea that some act of cleverness will lead to easy success. And now there’s a voice in my head that echoes the internet. I need constant amnesty from this idea.

3- I must be careful not to conflate financial success with pride/ confidence. I can be proud of my work without there being money. The best I have to offer might never make any real money. Being a pragmatist, there is a part of me that cannot deny the link between success and material acquisition. I think this connection between pride and money will always be a problem for me. See Diana Senechal’s important essay about Western Culture and the narrowing of the definition of success.

4- I am not a writer; I am only a book. Further, each novel I write is the work of a short lifetime, and I am lucky to have many short lifetimes. People are not always so lucky.

5- Time cannot be allowed to become my monster. As David Byrne has stated in various songs: “Time isn’t holding us. Time isn’t after us.” and “Life is long if you give it away.” I’m not even entirely sure what the fuck this means and how it applies to writing, but it seems important. I will continue investigating. Maybe in a few years, I’ll get a better picture.

6- Writing is not the key to anything except becoming a better writer. And it’s often lonely, like wandering an arctic wilderness. That’s what the empty page is: an ice-land. Nor will it necessarily make me happier. Nevertheless, it bring satisfaction, and sometimes at the most surprising moments. Also, I’m pretty good at doing it.

7- Out of the blue, I have stumbled onto my lifetime. I have accidentally established home turf and identity.  Now I must go and fight like hell for it; I must be its champion.

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