Official Website of A. S. Peterson

Perfected in Weakness

(Note: This is adapted from my portion of the "Perfected in Weakness" session at Hutchmoot 2010.)

It's popular in our culture to think that we are defined by our strengths. If you go to a job interview, what do they ask you? They want to know what your strengths are, right? If someone wants to describe who they are or what they do, what do they say? They rattle off a list of strengths. I graduated from MIT. I work for NASA. I've been married for 12 years and have four kids. I hold the world record at Donkey Kong. We play up the things we're proud of or those things we think make us valuable in the eyes of others.

We don't mention our weaknesses. We downplay them. We hide them. I think we're trained to hide them for most of our lives. And in some measure, it's rightly so. It would be a depressing world if we described one another by our weaknesses, wouldn't it? Hi, my name is Pete Peterson and I'm lazy. I can't do math. I judge people before I know them. I secretly think I'm better than everyone else and my love of sweet tea and sandwiches is probably killing me . . .
Read the entire post

New Book, New Site, New Artwork

Now that there’s a new book on the way, I thought it was only fitting (and necessary) to revamp the website. Take a look around and be sure to check out the Fiddler’s Green page where you’ll find the newly unveiled synopsis of the book.

The manuscript itself is going through its third round of edits and an early review draft has been sent out to a chosen few for feedback and the option of providing endorsements for marketing purposes.

In other news, Evie Coates and I have been meeting for the past couple of weeks to talk up the new cover design and the work she’s done so far is fantastic (see the end of this post for a peek.) She’s finished most of the border that frames the cover (like the first book) and it’s almost as if she reached right into my brian and pulled out exactly what I’d been imagining. . .
Read the entire post

Memoir of an Ending

I spent a number stressful days last week trying to write the last chapters of the next (and final) installment of the Fin’s Revolution tale: Fiddler’s Green. I’d put off those chapters for a long time because I needed to be patient and mull over Fin’s entire story and make sure that all the necessary events and emotions came together in just the right way. After writing all day on Saturday, I laid awake until three or four in the morning with a whirl of descending character arcs and plot resolutions spinning through my head. When I woke at seven the next morning my brain still hadn’t stopped. So I got up, got dressed, shirked church and sat in the coffee shop writing. At about 3pm on Sunday, I wrote the final sentence of Fiddler’s Green.

An ending is a strange and delicate thing. In storytelling terms its importance is equaled only by its opposite: the beginning. The bits in the middle tend to be easier to shape because they’re open ended and the writer can, in some measure, both pre- and re- form them throughout the narrative...Read the entire post

Spit and Polish

For the past few months I’ve spent time writing Fiddler’s Green nearly every day. I like to plant myself in the back corner of Pantera Bread (because it rocks), or my neighborhood Starbucks (where they know my name and give me free stuff), or the burrito shop down the road (chips and fruit tea all day long) and once I’ve settled in with something tasty to eat or drink or both, I crack open the Macbook and get to work. Some days it might be an hour, others it might be six or more. And there’s a lot of hand-wringing going on because now that The Fiddler’s Gun is in readers’ hands, expectations have been whetted for the next book and the conclusion has got to satisfy.

I’m humbled by how emotionally invested many readers have become with Fin and her story and I don’t want to let anyone down. So the writing has been a meticulous process of trying to make sure that everything is firing in just the right direction in order to complete the story arc and deliver the emotional impact that I’ve been imagining in my dreams for over a decade. It’s worrisome work at times. And wonderful...
Read the entire post

The Chameleon

There’s an aspect of writing that I often struggle with in which I find that my own style is reshaped by whatever or whomever I happen to be reading at the time. I’ll write a passage one day and when I peruse it the next I’ll discover that, like the skin of a chameleon, it’s taken on the rhythm, structure, or vocabulary of someone else.

For instance, I began writing
The Fiddler’s Gun almost immediately after reading Frederick Buechner’s Godric and in the end I had to completely rewrite the first few chapters because they had the same archaic and often yoda-like sentence structure as Godric. It was fun to write but it certainly didn’t fit the tone of the book. It wasn’t really my writing–I was parroting, riffing off of a better author. I find that this sort of thing happens to me all the time and often wonder where the line is between influence and imitation...Read the entire post

Digital Release of The Fiddler's Gun: Letters

I know a lot of folks were disappointed that The Fiddler’s Gun: Letters was kept to a print run of only 100 copies. To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy the project as much as I did. It took on a life of its own during the writing, providing a couple of fun story arcs and what was, for me as a writer, an enjoyable way of getting to learn more about my characters and explore their lives in ways that didn’t make sense within the context of the novel. What I was left with in the end was a little book that I really loved but had, unfortunately, committed to a limited printing of only a hundred. Well, I told myself, I’ll release the digital version a little later and folks can read it that way.

One of my prime complaints against digital books, however, is that they require a certain sterility of design due to the limitations of the software and hardware that they are read on. It is true that the final worth of a book is found in its writing, in its words, and that’s not something that’s significantly altered by a font or a page margin. I really felt though, that part of the charm of
The Fiddler’s Gun: Letters was in its design...Read the entire post

A Voyage on Stranger Seas

Thanks to all of the readers out there telling your friends about the book. You are the reason The Fiddler’s Gun has been such a success. But don’t stop! Let your local bookstores (especially independent bookstores ) know that if they aren’t stocking The Fiddler’s Gun then they are, as a reader told me lately, ‘missing the boat’.

And remember, if you send me a picture of yourself posing next to the book stocked on the shelf in your local store, you’ll get a free advanced reading copy of
The Fiddler’s Green later this year.

Speaking of
The Fiddler’s Green, it’s almost finished. Just a few days ago I sent Part I: A Voyage to Stranger Seas to my editor. While she’s going through it, I’m finishing up the last few chapters of the second half of the manuscript. I think it’s shaping up to be...Read the entire post

No Man's Land

The gnome has been faithful these last few weeks. My writing goal is 1000 words a day, a number that I find is just right for me. It’s a small enough number that I can squeeze the words out when they aren’t flowing and still feel like I’ve accomplished something, and it’s also big enough that the feeling isn’t trivial. I also find that it’s a small enough goal to leave me feeling really positive on the good days when the story is coming easy and I’m able to put out 1500 or 2000 words at a clip. Thankfully, there have been a lot of those good days lately.

I’m in a part of the story right now that has never been crystal clear in my mind...Read the entire post

Through the Creator's Eyes

My creative engine is a stubborn thing. Much like my poor motorcycle (Mr. Miyagi), if it sits too long, going unused and ignored, it takes a significant investment of work to get it back into shape. In Mr. Miyagi's case, he needed a new battery and a lot of elbow grease. My writing muscle, however, needed me to plant my butt in a chair and crank the gears by hand for a while. And let me tell you, when the gears are rusty, they don't like to be cranked.

Thankfully, things are running smoothly now. I'm hitting and exceeding my writing goals almost everyday and Fiddler's Green is a real joy to be writing.  In an earlier post I wrote this of the writing of the book...Read the entire post

Feeding the Gnome

Tinker Creek
In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he refers to the creative force behind his work as the little gnome that he keeps in the basement. When King sits down to write, the gnome, if he’s been treated well, passes his stories up through the cracks in the floorboards and, a page at a time, a book begins to take shape.

If you haven’t read
On Writing, you should. It’s a great book, both a memoir and a manual. One of the most enduring things that I took away from it was this concept of the gnome in the basement, a grimy little guy down there in the dark that’s slaving away at all hours, stockpiling his little tales, and essays, and notes so that when the lazy tenant upstairs comes knocking, he’s got something to offer up. The key to the keeping of the gnome is that the little guy needs to be well-kept.

If I fatten my gnome on junk food and reality TV, guess what...
Read the entire post

Finding Critcism (II)

In the last couple of months I’ve been asked by several people how I go about finding criticism. I’ve talked a bit about this before and you can read my previous post on it by clicking this link. But here I want to discuss an angle of the subject that I didn’t cover in that post: online criticism.

When I first began my revisions of
The Fiddler’s Gun, I dabbled in a few online critique groups and systems and they weren’t completely without benefit. The process usually consisted of posting a chapter or an excerpt and then sitting back to let anonymous people tear into it. While it certainly did open my eyes to a few issues, the greater lesson I learned from it was that criticism by strangers is only useful to a point; it has a glass ceiling. The ceiling exists at the point that your prose is more or less grammatically correct, properly formatted, devoid of easy cliches, and doing a good job of showing, not telling.

This ceiling marks the place where an acceptable mastery of the objective nuts-and-bolts craft of writing has been achieved and your work as a whole begins to hinge more clearly on the subjective art of storytelling. Any anonymous internet person can point out why your subject and verb don’t agree but in order for someone’s artistic opinion of your use of pace, symbolism, voice, or rhythm to mean much, you’ve got to understand where they are coming from. That’s not always easy to do via the internet.

Here’s an example...
Read the entire post

The Long Road Ahead

The last couple of months have been incredibly busy for me. The release of The Fiddler’s Gun and the Christmas season at the Rabbit Room kept me ragged and tired for the month of December and January was filled with the rigors and long hours of my ‘day job’ where I’m away from home and often too tired at the end of the day to get my mind in the right place for serious writing.

With the arrival of February, there’s an end in sight. I’ll be back home in Nashville soon and hope to have a few weeks, if not a month or so, to really buckle down get some work done.
Fiddler’s Green, currently at around 50,000 words, is about half-written. With my typical writing goal of 1000-1500 words a day that means I’ve still got well-over a month of non-stop, butt-in-chair work to do just to get it all down and ready for rewrites, revisions, and edits. My hope is to put it in your hands by Christmas so I really need to get busy and I might have to bump that word goal up into the 2000 neighborhood.

Experience has taught me that the absolute enemy of a writer is inconsistency. Writing, and more accurately, long form prose, requires a schedule. It’s a labor that relies on a well-exercised muscle and when that muscle falls into atrophy it’s no quick task to bring it back up to operating level. For the past months, I’ve rarely put the writing muscles to use and now that I’m sitting here trying to flex them again, it shows.

The words you are reading right now are, in some ways, little more than procrastination. In other ways, however, they are the stretch before the marathon.

When I get back to Nashville, I intend to run. Time to write. And I’m looking forward to it. The road leads through some dark and beautiful country and the miles ahead may leave my feet blistered and swollen. Wish me well, Fin’s gone far astray and I’m anxious to bring her home.

The Kindle Version

Several folks have asked when The Fiddler’s Gun will be available on the Kindle. The answer: soon, very soon. I spent the weekend working on it and I thought some folks might be interested in the process.

When you create a book for print, the final digital incarnation that gets sent off to the printer is a .PDF file. A PDF displays the book precisely as it will appear in print, each page blocked off perfectly with header and footer, page numbers, the whole kit and kaboodle. What you see is what you get. In a perfect world, eBook readers would be able to display this PDF file and things would be a lot simpler.

The reality is much different...
Read the entire post

Article at Curator Magazine

Jenni Simmons at The Curator magazine recently wrote a great review and article about The Fiddler's Gun. Here's an excerpt:

“I’ve stated before that I loathe reading most accounts of history – dry textbooks, facts, and such. But the grand scope of reality, I believe, is that we dwell in history framed by a much bigger story written by One greater than us all. Great books like The Fiddler’s Gun give a lifelike voice to the historic characters on whose fictional shoulders we stand. We peer into Fin’s story through the eve and eye of The Revolutionary War. There’s her best friend Peter LaMee, her foe Sister Hilde; humor, romance, betrayal, grand ships, swearing sailors, pirates, gallows, Red Coats, Tories, and the hunger for American independence. Though within the epic framework, Fin just craves acceptance and love, to be an orphan no longer – to belong.

She has the endearing, headstrong spunk of Swede Land (Peace Like a River), which sometimes...
Read the entire post

Rabbit Room Interview

RR logo transp
[This is an interview I did a few weeks ago with Matt Connor for The Rabbit Room (]

The Fiddler’s Gun is the first in a two-part series, a Revolutionary War tale that’s “not a children’s story,” as Peterson explains.

Here in our latest Rabbit Room interview, we go inside the independent publishing process, the story line of
The Fiddler’s Gun, and the hidden classic known as Burger Wars.

Rabbit Room: What’s the timeline on the book’s release?

Pete Peterson: The official release date is December 1st, 2009. I’ll be shipping out orders to my patrons as soon as I receive the books from the printer, which should be a bit sooner.

RR: Let’s start with the basics of
The Fiddler's Gun. Can you tell us the genesis of the idea? ...Read the entire post

It's Final!

I did another happy dance this week. The proofread is done!

I got the manuscript back from the proofreader and went through it to review the changes and was pleased to discover that they were few, far between, and all minor. So I accepted the corrections and,
voila, the text of the manuscript is now finished. Complete. Hard to believe.

The next step is typesetting. I had hoped to hire a freelancer to do this for me but it was way outside of my budget. All is not lost however, I have some design background and I’m no stranger to...
Read the entire post

A New Letter

While traveling the northern coast of Florida and investigating the economic tendencies of rabbits and their reading habits, I found myself on Amelia Island and took the opportunity to visit their historical museum to see what I might turn up. The curator was a crusty old salt with a jaundiced eye, a severe limp, and a shortage of fresh batteries for his hearing aid. He greeted me kindly and after a lengthy explanation that involved the appearance of an ear trumpet, I finally managed to communicate to him that my interest lay chiefly in the study of 18th century letters, logbooks, and other maritime documents.

I suspect he didn’t think much of my particular interests. He repeatedly steered me toward his vast collection of fish hooks and lighthouse replicas. I would not be dissuaded, however, and at last he showed me to a tiny closet at the rear of the museum inside which were stacked a treasure of...
Read the entire post

Back to Work

logo solid
Zounds! It’s been a long time since we had an update around here. At last, I’m back home in Nashville and I’m ready to dive in and get back to work. The old day job has been so busy for the last month and a half that I had to put a hold on just about everything else. Thankfully, that project is over and I’m back on track. Time to write. Time to edit. Time to publish a novel. I’m excited.

The editing is roughly 3/4 done, I have a meeting this afternoon with Evie Coates, my cover artist, and I’ll be on the phone this week with the printer to hammer out those details. I hope to be deep into type setting before the month is out.

Stay tuned, I think I spotted a musty old letter tucked away in the corner that needs transcribing, and I’m fairly certain there are a couple of short stories lurking around the hard drive waiting to be dusted off.

Not an Update

The dreaded day job has kicked into high gear in the last couple of weeks and it isn’t going to slow down for at least another month. The upside of this is a paycheck. The downside is that I’m spending 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week doing something other than writing and editing.

While I’ve managed to keep the updates on the website coming pretty regularly, I’m afraid website maintenance is starting to eat into editing time. That’s bad.

So for the next week or two, I need to focus more on the manuscript and less on daily site updates. I know, it makes me sad too. Back to business as usual once I’ve caught up on the editing.

The Future of the Printed Word

While following a link from Nathan Bransford’s blog, I found this article from The Brooklyn Rail about the future of the printed word. It’s a fascinating reflection of what I talked about in yesterday’s post. The logical evolution of the publishing world is the emergence of small presses that serve niche markets with a trusted and high quality product. Here’s an excerpt:

“What must be a dramatic realization and spell the death of print for corporate publishers (and some in the media) is not that anyone can publish a book in this day and age, but that any unheeled upstart can publish a better-written, better-designed, and more worthwhile book better than Random House. They’re doing it all the time.

The corporate ideology has run its course in book publishing, which spells the death of print to many. But as evidenced by...Read the entire post

Why Independent?

Coming to the decision to publish The Fiddler’s Gun independently wasn’t easy. When I began writing it I envisioned, like most authors, that one day it would be picked up by a traditional publishing house and find its way into Wal-Marts all over America. When it was written and rewritten enough times, the manuscript went out to the major houses and received a lot of good feedback (as well as some welcome constructive criticism) but in the changing climate of the publishing industry, the idea of becoming an independent publisher began to have a strong appeal to me.

The idea of working within a system that valued sales, marketing, and genre definition over quality became distasteful. Don’t mistake that to mean I’m averse to applying changes to my manuscript, I’m not. To the contrary, I’m anxious to change it, to make it better, more appealing. It’s the system that I dislike, a system that...
Read the entire post

Working Toward Ten Thousand Hours

It's poker night. It’s 9pm and several of my friends are upstairs having a great time. I imagine there’s at least one cigar being smoked, a few potent potables sitting around on coasters, and a good deal of laughter.

Meanwhile, I’m at the kitchen table with my laptop, it’s quiet, I’m alone, and I’m writing. There’s a big part of me that would much rather be upstairs. I’ve heard a lot of accusations in the last few months that I’m antisocial because I don’t go out to fellowship with the other guys very often and instead choose to spend those evening hours writing.

It’s not a matter of being antisocial, though. It’s a matter of self-discipline...
Read the entire post

Another Letter Found

This past weekend I was rummaging through a used book store in Providence, Rhode Island and came across some great buys.

The first book that caught my eye was entitled
Naval Knots and Them What Tied ‘Em. I’m always on the lookout for a good old fashioned knot book and saw right off that this was a keeper. It was written by Heathcliff G. Sanderson who most of you will recall was the Knottier-in-Chief of the Department of the Navy in the early 19th century and coined the famous phrase, “Knot without a fight!” during the War of 1812. Naturally, I snatched this little treasure up and added it to my library.

The second find of the day was...
Read the entire post

New Life for a Dead Letter

Until last week, it hadn’t occurred to me that the Dead Letter Office in Washington, D.C. might hold some long lost correspondence concerning Fin Button. I’d passed it over in my research because the office wasn’t established until 1825, long after the golden age of Fin’s career, and the overwhelming bulk of letters that end up there are destroyed.

You can imagine my surprise then when I received a call from a rodentially-voiced clerk of the office who reported that in the process of searching for a hidden supply of doughnuts he chanced across a brittle and yellowed letter bearing the initials “FB”.

Though the clerk could not explain the existence of a letter in his file cabinet that predated the office by fifty years, he was kind enough to send it to me for further study. Upon my own inspection I was delighted to learn of its authenticity, yet somewhat saddened to know that its intended audience had never set eyes upon it.

The letter (dated Christmas Day, 1775) has been carefully transcribed and it is presented on the
Letters to Peter page so that you may read that which Peter LaMee, regrettably, could not.

Finding Criticism

Last week while I was on vacation I got an email from my editor and sat back to consider it with suspicion. I was worried that it might contain good news and let’s face it, nothing is worse than good news. Allow me to explain.

It’s easy to look around and find ten people to read your work and tell you it’s wonderful, or gosh-wow great, or really, really nice but none of that is terribly useful. On the other hand, try to find ten people to give you a thoughtful critique and offer suggestions on how to improve your manuscript. The latter is...
Read the entire post

A New Letter

Although I was vacationing in the wildlands of eastern Tennessee last week, I was lucky enough to find, among the waterfalls, and cliff-faces, and coal mines, a strange little store named Antiques, Collectibles, Junk? You Decide.

Since I’m a big fan of deciding things, I took the opportunity to go in and put them to the test. I was greeted by
Uncle Jesse (who, it turns out, is not in Hazard County, GA, and not dead, but hiding out in this store) who explained that he sold “a little bit of everything and something for everyone.” I was skeptical but I accepted his challenge.

The first thing I decided was that I would not be buying any of his collection of antique spatulas. Then, although tempting, I also decided against a large stack of neatly folded brown socks (I think they were originally white.) I continued my inspection and judgement upon the moldy little shop and easily placed each item into the “Junk” category until I came upon a small packet of letters stored in a Folgers can.

The letters were an admirable collection of correspondence between members of the Bolington family, many of which dated back over a hundred years. I read through each one with passing interest and considered that in this one case the item in question may be elevated above junk and possibly to the esteemed designation of collectible.

But when I reached the final and oldest letter of the series, I had to admit that Uncle Jesse did in fact have something for me. It was a letter of the late 18th century in which Charles Bolington chanced to cross the trail of Fin Button and saw fit to write of it to his wife, Lucilla.

I purchased the letter for a price that both I and Uncle Jesse considered fair and I have spent much of the time since transcribing it. I’m pleased to be able to present it to you here at The Fiddler’s Gun on the
Letters to Peter page. Enjoy.

West Virginia Fiction Award

There's some great news this week from S.D. Smith, my good friend over at the Maple Mountain Story Club. He's been selected as a finalist for the West Virginia Fiction Award.

If you've never been to his site you should proceed with all haste to do so. He's got a unique voice and humor and always has something interesting going on.

The updates to The Fiddler's Gun are coming a bit slow this week because I'm on vacation in the mountains of Tennessee. No cell phone service and a really slow internet connection are small prices to pay for a cabin over looking the Cumberland Valley, hikes to local creeks, rivers, and waterfalls, a hot tub on the deck, and a whole lot of my mom's good cooking.

What's a Salzburger?

Like most novels, the first draft of The Fiddler’s Gun has gone through a lot of changes and is a good deal different from the final version that readers will hold in their hands. I did a lot of research while getting to know the various peoples and places of the story and in the earliest drafts a great deal of that research is explicit on the page.

But just because the author knows the history of a person or a place doesn’t mean it belongs in the story. A lot of that kind of information gets cut during editing. That doesn’t mean the research was in vain, though. The individual stories and histories behind the persons and places of
The Fiddler’s Gun serve to inform the tale in much more subtle ways long after the raw exposition has been excised.

It does make me sad sometimes, though, and one such example is that of the Salzburgers...
Read the entire post

Origin of the Story

Contrary to popular belief (trust me, I’ve polled it), I did not sit down one day and think, “Ah hah! I shall write an adventure novel of the Revolutionary War and my heroine shall be named Phinea Button!”

The real story, if you choose to believe it, is that some years ago I decided to try something different for Christmas. Simply buying gifts and handing them out wrapped in plaid paper had grown too ordinary. That’s when I thought, “Ah hah! I shall build treasure chests and fill them with gifts and bury them!”...
Read the entire post

Short Fiction

I’ve had a fun time with the website lately but I worry sometimes that people will come to equate the snarky humor of the “About the...” pages or the psuedo-serious nature of the “Transcription” posts, or the first person perspective and voice of the “Letters to Peter” with the writing of The Fiddler’s Gun itself, which of course none of you have yet read. The novel’s voice, perspective, and style is something rather different from what is in evidence here on the site.

Some may have noticed a new webpage link in the sidebar entitled “
Short Fiction”. While the pieces I plan to post there will not be direct examples of the style of the novel, I do hope they’ll offer a broader portrait of my writing and will help to earn your trust in the quality of the story yet to come.

The first short presented is one I wrote for
The Rabbit Room entitled “The Taming of the Toad.” It is very loosely inspired by my experience as a staff member at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch and is not, as I’ve often been asked, autobiographical. I hope you enjoy it.

A New Letter Found

This Sunday afternoon I received a phone call from a man with a thick German accent calling himself Herr Wilbur Schilling. At first I assumed he had a wrong number and nearly hung up the phone but when he told me he was a member of the Georgia Salzburger Society, he had my full attention.

He told me of a collection of aged documents that he’d found some years ago hidden between the pages of an old Gutenburg Bible. The Bible, he assured me, now rests safely in the hands of the local museum but he held onto the documents having no clear idea of what they might be worth or to whom they might be of interest. He related his elation at the discovery of this website and how, with all haste, he sought me out and then bid me come to inspect his documentary treasure.

I did so at once.

Most of the documents in his care were of little note being either unreadable or unremarkable. Most, not all. One among them, although undated and unsigned, seized my interest at once and I have transcribed it and entered it upon the
Letters to Peter page of the site.

A Captain's Log

For years I’ve dreamed of traveling cross-country to visit the famous National Museum of Maritime and Mercantile Logbooks in Beaufort, South Carolina. It boasts the biggest collection of historical logbooks in all of South Carolina and I had an inkling that I might be able to find something there that could enlighten the story of The Fiddler’s Gun. I was not mistaken.

I hid in a broom closet until they closed and then, under cover of darkness, I snuck into the museum proper to find what I had come for. Having watched
Treasure of the Four Crowns last week, I was able to easily avoid the laser alarm system and a rather ingenious nest of booby traps that guarded the logbook. I danced through the laser field like the pasty middle-aged ninja that I am and used a bag of sand to fool the weight-sensitive plate upon which the logbook lay. Then I cut the page in question from the two-hundred-year-old book and left a polite note that I would return it in the near future along with a copy of my library card.

The transcription of this newly acquired log entry can be found on the
Letters to Peter page. I hear sirens outside my door.

Back to Basics

In the last couple of weeks I’ve seen some very poorly executed movies. Is there anything more frustrating than going into a theater with high expectations and watching for two hours as those hopes are slowly dashed to pieces? Why yes, I’m sure there are things more frustrating but it’s definitely near the top of any reasonable list. It’s right up there with forgetting to do laundry over the weekend and discovering on Monday morning that you’ve got to go to work in whichever clothes are least dirty. Maybe that’s just me.Read the entire post

In Search of Pierce Pettis

Pierce Pettis
I just had the rare privilege of catching a Pierce Pettis show in Houston. Pierce is one of my favorite storytellers (through song) and one of those rare gems that few people are familiar with but everyone ought to take a chance on. I wrote a short piece about my experience for The Rabbit Room. Anyone who appreciates the precise and economical use of words owes it to themselves to check out his music. Read the post here.

Stop Pillaging My Childhood

I saw the new Wolverine and Star Trek movies last weekend. One of them was good, one of them wasn’t. I posted some thoughts and gentle mockery over at The Rabbit Room. Okay, maybe some not so gentle mockery as well.

Read the post here.

Letters to Peter

The studious reader will have noted the link in the sidebar entitled “Letters to Peter” and quite possibly that reader will have wondered why I write letters to myself and post them here. The answer is that, thankfully, I haven’t written myself at all, or if I have, I haven’t posted it here for eyes other than those of the addressee.

In the narrative of
The Fiddler’s Gun, Fin Button has multiple occasions to write letters home to her good friend, Peter LaMee. So in the time leading up to the release of the book, I thought it would be fun to discoverRead the entire post

Manuscript Away

After finishing my edit last week, I spent a few more days fidgeting around with the manuscript, re-reading, re-editing, and re-writing various things. I’d written quite a few new scenes during the last few weeks that I felt I should go back and revisit after some time away to make sure they fit together the way I wanted them to and to ensure they didn’t mess up the general rhythm of the manuscript.

I was especially concerned with the last chapter, which had remained almost unchanged throughout the entire evolution of the story. I made some significant changes to...Read the entire post

A Question of Demographics

logo solid
One of the issues I ran up against when trying to publish The Fiddler’s Gun traditionally was the question of market and audience. Who is the intended audience? What market is it aimed at? On multiple occasions I got feedback from both agents and editors that indicated they weren’t sure how to handle the book because they weren’t sure where to aim it. That makes a ton of sense to me because I didn’t write it with a demographic in mind. I wrote it for an audience of one: myself.

I wrote a book that I’d always wanted to read but never had. I didn’t set out to write for kids, or young women, or middle-aged men. I set out to create a world and a cast of characters and narrative that would...
Read the entire post

The Final Edit (until the next one)

I think I finished the first draft of The Fiddler’s Gun about six years ago and since then it’s been through edits and rewrites many times over. I’m amazed that each time I finish an edit I feel like the manuscript is strong, lean, and well-written yet every time I pick it up again to take another look I find a thousand more things that I can improve. When does ...Read the entire post

An Adventure in Self-Publishing

After spending most of the past decade writing, editing, and refining this book it's finally come time to publish it. Time to set it loose on the world and see how it fares.

I can hardly wait to get it into the hands of you, the reader, but I didn't spend years creating something that I love just to rush it out the door in a poorly put together package. I want to create something that satisfies, something that readers will be proud to have on their bookshelves.

I believe in the book and I believe...
Read the entire post