Monday, July 30, 2012

Shootout First Round Review Thoughts

The reviews from the first round of Martin T. Ingham's Shootout, as the title of this post suggests, have come around, and I found that it was almost more fascinating to read the other reviews from the stories I read than for my own contribution.

Suffice it to say, my reviews were different.  At least one of the authors seemed to get their feelings hurt from what I had to say (but no to the extent of a writer I had no contact with other than seeing what other people thought; they took the one negative review out of a bunch of really positive ones and ran it into the ground), which is a little disturbing, because I know I said exactly what I thought was wrong with it and what could be done to improve it (well, maybe I was too specific?), besides the one offending line (and I was being generous, because I could not bring myself to read the entire piece).

I noticed that most of the readers were extremely forgiving to each other.  My favorite story in the piece was hailed as a veritable masterpiece, but it still fit my label of Overachiever, which is a distinction I tried to make clear in my review, calling it a very typical writer's exercise.  Well, now I know why most people are participating, and it's not generally to be a hundred percent accurate in their opinions (at least, from standards that would have to be considered reasonably compatible with mine), but rather to share stories from a pool of amateur writers.

This is not necessarily bad thing.  If anything, I found the reviews for my own story to be remarkably accurate (and wondered where comparable minds were from the five other readers of the ones I read).  I thought the first comment, which brought up the similarity to a recent Batman movie, was the most useful.  If I'd seen the movie before writing my story, I'm reasonably certain that the story would have come out differently.  Another review called it a thought piece, which is not how I've previously considered my writing, but anyone who's read Monorama (that would be Mr. Dilloway) will probably buy that critic a drink for the insight.  Most of the reviews focused on the length (it was around 800 words), calling that its biggest weakness, and maybe I ought to seriously consider that as I write in the future (my story for the second round was a little over 400 words longer).  Over the past year and a half, I've tended to write flash thought fiction as a rule, and that's what I did again, just to see what people actually thought about it, and now I have a better idea.  It will probably mean that going forward I will write more extensive stories, meaning that I won't be able to crank them out in an hour or less.  I've been able to push myself as a writer while working on longer form fiction, but I will probably admit a certain laziness when it comes to shorter efforts.

Yes, I love thought fiction, and while I've tried to work more action into some of what I've written in that regard, I still tend to believe that getting inside the character's head is enough to interest readers.  Now I have some proof that this is not necessarily the case (even though I already knew that).

Well, we'll see what these guys think of the second story...

Please note that WRiTE CLUB has now begun its competition, pitting two entries against each other, two a week, and that submissions are still possible.

Friday, July 27, 2012


The seventh and final chapter in Monorama is "Quagmire," and it is the most blatantly incomplete story in the collection.  In another life, it has the subtitle "A Fragment from Darkness Falls on a Dark Land," which might make it sound slightly less mysterious.

It is the oldest piece in the collection, dating back to 2002, part of an aborted longer form short fiction that I attempted at the time, several other fragments of which still exist (and if you're crafty enough on Scouring Monk, you can find them, and several other ancient things as well).  It's the most interesting part of the nearly 30,000 words I still have from that effort, and probably represents the most editing I did for the whole collection.

"Quagmire" is best represented in this form because the whole story was later modified as a carefully constructed foundation myth (read: lie) at the center of a vast science fiction epic I'm still working on with the umbrella title Space Corps.  It's the only story that I've got from it that only features aliens, and was until earlier this year the only one I've actually written.  I've had the curious inability to be tangibly productive for this whole affair, though I'll soon start work on Seven Thunders, the book that lies at the emotional center of the Space Corps saga.  No, this is not a plug.  This is simply to say if you're wondering where the rest of "Quagmire" is, the answer's more complicated than you might have guessed.

I chose to include it for two reasons.  One was to get some Space Corps material in print.  The other was because "Quagmire" is fundamentally different from everything else in the collection.  I tend to not write like that anymore, but it's a sign that I am at least capable of it, and the fact that it throws the reader in the middle of things one way or another is just icing on the devious little cake.  (Basically, the Alliance of Five discovers that negotiations for peace can be complicated by unforeseen factors.  "Alliance of Five" is my updated term for these guys, by the way.  It used to be worse.)

One character pulls out what's basically a cross between a lightsaber and a Green Lantern ring, and I must tell you now that this is the only time this weapon has any kind of significance in any Space Corps story.  It is meant to distinguish the character who wields it.  He pops up in many more stories.  The guy he pulls it on is another reason why I retain fond memories of "Quagmire," because I love his name (even though that was one of the things that's changed over the years), and he, too, pops up again.  If it weren't for this encounter, it's unlikely that "Quagmire" would have found its way into the collection.  It's not big, but it stands out in my memory as a moment where I made something cool happen in my own fiction.  What writer doesn't cherish something like that?  Everything else happening around these two characters is somewhat tangential, and doesn't even begin to explain what's going on.  If you think of the first time Dylan Hunt met Tyr Anasazi in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, then maybe the scene does its job.

"Quagmire" throws a lot of characters at you, and explains why they're all there, but it's incapable of explaining in itself why you should care.  It's just a snippet, hopefully exotic enough that you wonder what else is out there.  In that way, it's exactly like the rest of the collection.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lost Convoy

The sixth chapter in Monorama is "Lost Convoy," which is a post-Earth adventure in which the evacuees quickly discover that surviving the end of the world was only the beginning.

The most fun I had with this one was coming up with the names, because they all came from people I either knew or came across while working for a bookstore.  One of them was a co-worker, another a regular customer, and there were many random people whose names I just happened to love, and finally someone who used to work there, but before my time, and I somehow still managed to form a relationship with them, because that's just the kind of guy I am.  Yes, someone you should be really afraid of.

I'm not going to lie.  "Lost Convoy" is very blatantly an homage to Lost, one of my favorite TV shows of all time, filled with character flashbacks and larger thoughts on what it's all about, and "it" is the human experience.  Since it's a short story, "it" ends up being about how we react to a situation like the end of the world and not lose ourselves.  In fact, each of the characters in this story are remarkably sanguine about what's just happened to them, and not just because they're trying to deal with the predicament in the title and somehow being exactly the people to handle it.  There's interconnectedness and perhaps coincidence and maybe fate in their pasts, and at least one charismatic individual who unexpectedly is a better person than he appears (yes, Sawyer was always a favorite of mine).

"Lost Convoy" was an effort on my part to write a longer piece of short fiction, because as anyone who reads this collection will know, when I do short stories, "short" is the optimum word, and when I don't, then I end up with a novel, or at the very least a novella.  "Lost Convoy" is the longest piece of short fiction I've written, and maybe it's still not so long as to seem impressive to anyone with real experience in the form, but it retains all the characteristics of my fiction, regardless of form, in what I consider an ideal state, so that you care about the characters, things happen, and there's a message lurking somewhere in the background.  Even if you take the one that's most obvious, that there's always hope even in the grimmest of situations, hopefully you'll come away with something other than the impression that yet another writer having touched on the post-apocalypse.

"Lost Convoy" was the showcase of a previous version of this collection.  I like to think that it still is, even if some entries are flashier or longer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Leopold's Concentration

The fifth chapter of Monorama is "Leopold's Concentration," which is roughly the same length as "Lost Books of Tomorrow," but features a cohesive narrative and is in fact a novella.

As with "Roadkill Cafe," it is a story that attempts to bridge the gap between the human experience and the greater animal kingdom.  The title character experiences a fall (another of those recurring motifs, and a suggestion at one obvious way I could have manipulated the earlier "Falling Man" into something that would have more conventionally matched the sci-fi theme of the collection, rather than leaving the main character in a miasma of his own making) and learns that he can hear the thoughts of animals.  His subsequent journey is juxtaposed with an astronaut who comes back from space with the same ability, and tries to juggle professional and personal responsibilities with his need to understand what has happened to him.

The concluding chapter in "Leopold's Concentration" (fifteen shortish chapters in all) features a variation on the original version of this story, something I worked on in high school, and eventually radically reworked in "Roadkill Cafe" for a more abstract feeling.  The chapter concerns many of the same scenarios, but a character who has been driven insane, after the world has blocked his ability to formulate resolution to his strange experiences.  It is an irony that I stopped working on "Leopold's Concentration" following this chapter, because it forces the reader to question whether or not this is the fate of the two characters they've been following to this point, and perhaps also if "Roadkill Cafe" is itself a feverish delusion, no matter the insight that may or may not be derived from it.

The link I've included this time is a Goodreads page created by Patrick Dilloway, who also provides the first official review of the collection.  He has mostly positive things to say, but does note that there doesn't seem to be a lot of conclusions in the book, which is was intentional on my part, and half the reason why I nearly went with Lost Books of Tomorrow as the title of the whole collection and not just one chapter.  These are fragments, as any story ought to be, especially if it's a short story; the only thing I've done differently than other writers is make it more deliberate.  If there is no ending, then the reader has that much more space to play with.  What I aim to offer with this collection is a chance to reclaim the reader's right of interpretation.

Dilloway had to create the Goodreads page for reasons that still somewhat confound me.  I don't know if this is common for CreateSpace publications, since my two other author listings on the site populated themselves, which for someone given to laziness was much easier to handle than the prospect of populating everything for himself, even if given all the tools to accomplish it.  I would like to thank him for these contributions to a meager cause.

On a concluding note for this brief look at "Leopold's Concentration," I would like to acknowledge that I just confessed to creating a character who is driven insane by a lack of resolution while talking positively about a whole collection that shares this same problem.  I assure you, I am not committed to driving my readers crazy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Roadkill Cafe

The fourth chapter in Monorama is "Roadkill Cafe," something of a grim little fable.

It involves roadkill, as the title implies, but not in any gruesome terms (as is typical, I allow the reader to picture their appropriate level of imagery and get on with the rest of the story).  Directly inspired by seeing actual roadkill (one of my personal quirks is that I walk everywhere, so this was on slightly more intimate terms than as a motorist will experience such things), this is a tale that explores the animal kingdom and its relationship to humanity.

As it happens, in this story animals are fairly sanguine about it.  It's the pets who experience the melancholy.  "Roadkill Cafe" is not really about roadkill, but about pets, and how their lives are anything but entirely carefree.  We've been conditioned in recent years through a series of heartwarming books to think only of the best possible outcomes and nostalgic memories for our pets, yet we don't often consider that these are in fact living creatures who do not define themselves by their relationships with humans.  They do not experience the world the same way we do, but that does not mean we should assume that their devotion to us is the only way to explain their lives.

The roadkill are the leads in the story, as well as a human who has stumbled into the ability to understand their thoughts, but most of it is eavesdropping on the secret pains and regrets, the inner resolve of cats and dogs, even a little of what we project on a supposedly blank canvas (which is much of what the story is itself, and the only sure thing we'll ever know).

It's not the first time I've tried to pierce the veil between these particular worlds.  The fifth chapter, the novella "Leopold's Concentration," is the same story in an earlier iteration, more whimsical, far more traditional in structure (hopefully anyone who's still skeptical about my mainstream abilities at this point in the collection can start to breathe a sigh of relief).  "Roadkill Cafe" is purposefully minimalist, even moreso than "Lost Books of Tomorrow" or "Back from the Dead."  If you're looking for everything to be explained, this one is an indication that one of my themes as a writer is to say, that will not always be possible.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shootout, Backworlds, Blutonian Death Eggs

Yesterday I did my first round of reviews for Martin Ingham's Shootout, and it was certainly interesting.  The Shootout is the same as DL Hammons' WRiTE CLUB, except admission is closed and so it's only a game for participants now.  That means writing stories and then getting them reviewed.  There were so many eager writer that Ingham broke us into four teams, and we review stories from a different team.  I read six stories yesterday, and almost immediately I started having flashbacks to similar experiences...

In high school and college, I attended writing classes, and the results of reading my peers' work could usually be broken thusly: some simply could not write, some wrote based on story structures gleaned from movies and television, and some wrote overly flashy but otherwise ambitious and interesting exercises.  For simplicity's sake, we will call these archetypes the Underachiever, the Misguided, and the Overachiever.  In short, it's extremely rare to find someone in a class like this that will read exactly like what you will find in a typical book, no matter your preference.  The Overachiever will always be the most impressive, mostly because they're trying to impress, and are obviously influenced by some writer they greatly admire.  The problem is, they do not have an authentic voice.  The Misguided is more tragic than the Underachiever, because they don't seem to realize that there's a difference between the storytelling techniques exhibited in prose and screenplays.  The Underachiever is just sad, because they're the clogs in the machine, who don't seem to realize that they probably should not be writing.  This is the makeup of all the amateur writing to be found, even on the Internet.  It is extremely rare to find a writer who does not fit into one of these categories.  Sometimes you'll find an Overachiever you're absolutely convinced will be a good writer, but it's rare that they will actually have something to say.  They're the perpetual short story writer.  There's nothing wrong with short stories, except eventually they develop their own mutant sense of logic, and will even bleed into generic novels some critics will always fawn over, for lack of interest in ambition.

(Now, there is a difference between amateur writers and writers, and that's where the bridge between Overachiever and Achiever can be found.  I would argue that the best writers are not Achievers or Overachievers, but simply writers, confident in their own abilities and having nothing to prove, and lucky enough to be in a position where they can do exactly that.)

It was always painful, sitting through material like that in a classroom.  Believe it or not, but it was actually easier when I briefly co-edited a literary journal.  The writing was on the whole better, but short stories have a tendency to bring out the worst in any writer, making stories too simplistic, too gimmicky, if the writer is intent on following the basic patterns they've been taught all their life.  You can't tell writers from these patterns that they aren't accomplishing their objective.  Every amateur writer believes that they are better than they actually are, because they surround themselves with people who refuse to be their Simon Cowell, to give an honest assessment, and instead opt for encouragement, which in itself is fine, because being a friend is better than being a de facto antagonist in someone's life, but it confuses matters a great deal.

So anyway, I sat down yesterday to read some Underachiever, Misguided, and Overachiever fiction.  I don't want this to sound belittling, for the record.  It's just extremely rare in these circumstances to read the best possible material, and I think most of us are willing to admit that to some extent.  Ingham provided participants with a handy ranking system, and also encouraged comments.  Here's where I hope I am most helpful, even if it sucks to hear that there are fundamental, even conceptual problems in the story you've submitted for strangers to read.  I aim to provide what I believe, at the very least, to be objective suggestions, changes that would make the story more cohesive, compelling, coherent.  Maybe my ego's bigger than I think it is, and I'm just another amateur writer with a false self-identity, and maybe that has nothing to do with the ability to review someone else's work.  There was a point where doing this sort of thing would have almost been a career for me, if that journal had worked out, except we accepted stories as is, with a little editing required, and generally (at least on my part) wrote back to rejected writers what exactly was missing, and how they could if they wanted fix it.  We didn't exist long enough to see a lot of feedback, other than one extremely persistent writer who kept coming back even though we'd rejected several stories already.  The internal conversations between the editors during this period helped me learn a great deal about how this beast is supposed to work.

Out of the six stories I read, I liked two of them a great deal, but with reservations, and I wrote at length about those reservations, but no more than for the stories I didn't particularly enjoy.  Maybe all of these writers will be annoyed at my anonymous comments, or maybe they're accept and consider them, and I'll have helped some promising writers along.  As cynical as I can be about amateur writers, I strongly believe in allowing them to explore their potential, but within reason.  I do not believe that there is a framework of adequate support for writers at the moment.  Publishing companies are cavalier at best, and beyond that there is no regulation at all, and that makes no sense at all.  There are too many people who want to be or already consider themselves to be writers, and too little development of this ambition.  That's why today we have a hundred thousand books published (or self-published) every day, and virtually no effort at comprehensive examination of the results.  (That's why, Mr. Dilloway, we need things like Pulitzer Prizes.)  Unlike movies or music or television, there's barely an effort to cover even the most popular releases.  We know authors and we know book titles, but few of us know anything beyond that.  That's why there's the periodic publishing phenomenon, because it's exactly that, periodic.  It's not regular.  Sure, there's the bestseller lists, and USA Today has arguably the best version, but once you get past the classics and these bestsellers, how many readers can come to even a 1% consensus (if such a thing can even exist) on the mounds of books that remain to be considered?

It's a crapshoot, and so yes, I'm cynical.  Even successful writers are arguably no better off than amateur writers, and so those very upstarts may seriously and justifiably believe that any level of writing is acceptable.  There's nothing that presents a convincing counterargument.  So the best I can do is what I can do and hope the Shootout (and WRiTE CLUB) presents a worthwhile outlet for a frustrated writer.

In the meantime, Rusty Webb over at The Blutonian Death Egg may have finally convinced me that one of the writers in the community I stumbled across during a blogfest earlier this year is one worth discovering.  Her name is Mary Pax and she's just released a new book.  Given all that I've just said, I'm surprised, I must say, (this is no insult to Pax or Webb), and pleasantly so.  I only wish that all these writers weren't so keen on the digital reading format, because some of us still believe in the printed word.  It's easy and cheap and convenient, but it also assumes that everyone wants to read books this way, and that's not the case.  Especially among the die hard wordies, physical books will always have precedence.

Hopefully I have not succeeded in pissing anyone off...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back from the Dead

The third chapter from Monorama is "Back from the Dead," a tale about superheroes.

Unlike the more in-depth Cloak of Shrouded Men, this one's a little more broad strokes, and stems from an unrelated project, for which I developed a series of superhero monikers that sounded interesting and unique (which some comic books these days would have you believe is harder than it really is).  I ended up with so many names, once I tallied them, I surprised myself, and so I started taking some of them and another concept I'd jotted down in my trusty notebook, which happened to happily coalesce with thoughts I had while reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, specifically its depiction of the knight-and-squire model, and how it might be relevant to the 99% Generation.

Now, traditionally, when you think about superheroes, you think of them in big glowing terms (unless you still remember the grim 'n' gritty era that dominated the 1990s thanks to Alan Moore and Frank Miller).  If you're confused about what you think, just keep Superman in mind.  (Never mind that in Shrouded Men, Superman  and Batman surrogates don't get along mostly because Superman refuses to put his money where his mouth is.  I promise I like superheroes.)

In "Back from the Dead," the paradigm is defined by elitist superheroes who let their sidekicks do all the fighting.  The title refers to one of these sidekicks, much as Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes did in the comics, unexpectedly return, causing, well, a paradigm shift.  It's a parable for our times (it's worth noting that an Occupy Wall Street story does appear in "Lost Books of Tomorrow).

Like the majority of my stories, "Back from the Dead" is a series of character studies.  Most writers have it drilled into them that showing is better than telling.  I don't subscribe to that school.  Then again, I'm not sure most writers have enough to say about even one character to be able to study them long enough for a whole story.  They think in broad, familiar strokes, archetypes, and not necessarily character types so much as story types, even the literary set that mostly does "disturbed family" types.  Their characters only exist long enough to fill out a story.  I try to create ones that hopefully live well past the experience the reader has on the page.  That's my idea of imagination.  I don't necessarily care if the reader can visual an image.  I want them to visualize the character, and understand at least one world a little better.

Yeah, so it's a superhero story.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Falling Man

The second chapter of Monorama is "Falling Man," about a fairly normal individual with a fairly normal set of problems, except that he happens to have miraculously survived a malfunctioning parachute.

It's the only story in the book that does not explicitly feature any supernormal elements.  I originally wrote it for Myspace in the same way I compose any longer work, in short increments, usually about a page at a time.  I ended up forgetting all about it, until pulling together the final manuscript for Monorama (there's a story in "Lost Books of Tomorrow" that was also taken for Myspace, thereby completing that source of material).

There's a lot of unintentionally familiar elements in this story, as there is throughout Monorama, for anyone brave enough to read the whole book.  There's a number of individuals in the narrative, including the disturbed man who intentionally sabotages the hero's parachute, and the story jumps from person to person. Mostly it's concerned with the guy who survives the fall, the "Falling Man," who's less obsessed with the fall than a girl who was his instructor while he was taking lessons for the ill-fated event.  If you're looking for normal in these pages, this is as close as you'll get.

The story was originally titled "Yes I Am Falling," after a Beatles song ("I Just Saw A Face"), but I finally modified it, and think it sounds more dramatically pleasing in its present form, the most surreal element of the whole thing.  It suggests that our man never really stopped falling, so in a metaphorical sense, "Falling Man" definitely belongs with the rest of the stuff in Monorama.

All this is a lesson that Myspace is not completely obsolete in 2012.  Yay!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Lost Books of Tomorrow

My recently published short story collection Monorama opens with a sequence referenced on the cover, "The Lost Books of Tomorrow," and is a fairly unusual landscape of episodes that jump around from subject to subject (though time travel comes up a lot).  I was inspired in title and conception for the format of this section by Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey, which features forty-four variations on the life and influence of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, survivor of the Trojan War, and victim of a seriously delayed journey home.  Mason's book was one of my favorite recent reads, a textbook example of imaginative storytelling, and while it takes a moment to realize that none of the chapters have anything to do with each other, that ends up being the genius of the concept, and the reason I found it so provocative.

"The Lost Books of Tomorrow" was very nearly the title of the whole book, because the general idea, as it remains in this section, is that each of the stories in Monorama paint a portrait of the elusive future, taking new looks at concepts you may be familiar with but have perhaps never considered quite like this.  There are thirty-two shorter stories in "Lost Books," some of them a page, some of them a paragraph, and yes, some of them longer than that, and some of them set more or less in our present day, but all of them reflected through a lens of curiosity in some way, like a version of The Twilight Zone if it were prose fiction (no William Shatner appearances, alas).

Each of them was originally a standalone piece, and were going to be presented as such (or in the original working model of this project, almost in Scheherazade fashion, as part of one narrator's extended effort to retain the reader's interest), with titles that clearly marked the beginning of the story.  Instead, I've simply left a space between stories.  James Frey wrote in a somewhat similar fashion in Bright Shiny Morning, and that was another book I had in mind when ultimately choosing this format for "Lost Books."

The reference on the cover that I was referring to earlier, "The Lost Books of Tomorrow were finally found!," is another indication of my intentions.  I wanted it to feel like you were reading snippets from fiction you might actually find in the future, so that the concept of Monorama, along with "Lost Books," is that this will all be far from a typical experience, which "Lost Books" as an opening salvo will make clear from the start.  Removing titles from this section and simply letting the reader lose themselves on a highway of curiosities proved to be the best way to represent this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WRiTE CLUB and Shootout Update

Yesterday I wrote the 500 word entry for DL Hammons' WRiTE CLUB, and had some fun getting exactly that wordcount, something I haven't really had to do since college.  It's amazing that when you have to, you can craft a final sentence with however many words you have left.  After a few tries, I managed to do just that, and the awesome part is that it forces you to do a little bit of editing, looking back to see if any sentences can (or need to be) revised in order to achieve that, and doing some of that helped me reach 500, too.

I also wrote my Shootout entry yesterday (signup for this one closed last week, so all you'll be doing about this one is reading), and I found myself writing about superheroes again.  I did that with The Cloak of Shrouded Men, and with "Back from the Dead," one of the stories in Monorama.  Like the Eidolon in Shrouded Men, I wrote a version of Batman, but this time an aging vigilante whose body is giving out on him.  I guess I keep writing prose superheroes because I've been trying to write comic books superheroes since 2004, when I "narrowly" lost an Image Comics contest to Drew Melbourne, whose "Future Heroes" never got into print, but I did have some fun reviewing his Dark Horse effort, ArchEnemies.  He's also the originator of Double Steak Day.  (See his site for details.)

Recently I haven't done a ton of fiction writing, so it was just fun to do some of that again.  I'm trying to ramp back up, though, not the least because I've got some commitments and projects to hammer out, but more on that when I've got more to say.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I've just signed up for DL Hammons' 2012 WRiTE CLUB.  I'm also participating in Martin T. Ingham's Shootout, so I'll be a busy little writer, and that's not even counting the fact that I've got my own projects to work on and a new book to prep, Seven Thunders, which will be the first installment in the Space Corps series, something I've been working on for almost twenty years.

Who am I?  I'm Spider-Man.  Just kidding, I'm Tony Laplume.  I just recently released a collection of short stories:

I've been putting that together since last fall, writing most of the stories since January 2011, and in fact have also included a Space Corps story from 2003 and a novella from 2005, just for good measure, as well as a few slightly more recent efforts, but from outside of that general timeframe.  You can get a print edition or Kindle edition.  Or you can just look at the pretty cover.

I self-published that earlier this month, and self-published The Cloak of Shrouded Men in 2007.  That's a gritty superhero story about the illusion of control and its corrupting influence.  It was written in three successive Novembers as part of National Novel Writing Month, which was the only way I was going to write my first book.  I have since completed three additional manuscripts.

I currently have another book, Yoshimi, preparing to be published by Hall Bros. Entertainment, which if everything goes according to plan should be published later this summer.

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