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Overcoming fear: How writing about things that scare you will improve your writing

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"...when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

It started with a fascination. There is a story arc in season 3 of HBO's True Blood regarding witches, both traditional female-led European witchery as well as a specific Central American brand of Brujeria, a distinctively male craft. The contrast between the type of magic practiced was fascinating to me. I hadn't even known at that time there were such a thing as male witches, particularly in Mexico, which has a very strong machismo culture. So, as it often does, the idea took hold in my brain and I got more curious about it. It didn't hurt that the actor portraying the male witch, the brujo, was Kevin Alejandro, who is a delight to the senses.


But then my writer's mind took over. What if the brujo in question wasn't a handsome and kind person? What if he was awful? And what if he decided to specifically be awful to you? Well, that would be mighty scary.

Thus, the …

No, you don’t look younger than you are. Here’s why you shouldn’t want to

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I arranged my own marriage... and here's why you should too

We’re blessed to live in an age where society is starting to figure out that you don’t have to be married to be happy. You don’t need some man to “pick you” for you to be a valid member of society and you definitely don’t require a partner to be happy. But for those who are the marrying kind, sometimes it can feel discouraging. It’s hard to meet people once you’re out of school and internet dating can be frustrating, if not outright dangerous. But there are plenty of success stories, and I’m happy to say I’m one of them.

When I was 27, I decided I wanted to marry. I did not have a boyfriend and hadn’t in some time. My last pairing was a four-month boyfriend when I was 19. It ended amicably when the Marines stationed us on opposite coasts. In the intervening time, I got my college degree and moved to Las Vegas to take a job. I had an apartment, stable employment, and small savings. All I needed was a husband. But being a classic introvert, I rarely left my apartment except for work and…

Review: In the Woods by Tana French

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As a longtime Law & Order aficionado, please believe that I am not easily impressed by police procedurals. Tana French's In the Woods was a spectacular combination of realism, casual (and dark) humor), and a description of a friendship that I painfully envy. When Detective Rob Ryan was a child, he went into the woods with two of his friends. The two friends were never seen again and young Rob (who used his real name of Adam back then) was found bloody, traumatized, but relatively uninjured. His memory of what had happened was completely swallowed by his young mind and his parents, trying to be helpful, sent him away to an English boarding school. Now an adult with a posh English accent, Rob is a detective in the prestigious murder squad with the Dublin Police and there has been a new murder. The murder of a child... in his old hometown. There are eerie echoes to the crime twenty years ago, but don't get your hopes up. You never find out what happened to Rob's childhood …

Review: The Trap by Melanie Raabe

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An author living alone in her house for eleven years. She has a dog, she has an assistant, and she has her publisher... and that's it. Linda never leaves her house, not since she found her sister murdered in her apartment. It wasn't just the sight of the dead body that so traumatized her. It was the sight of the murderer crouching in the corner, looking directly at her. She saw him. And he saw her. But then he ran away and she had no idea who he was. The terror he might come for her, combined with the guilt she feels for not saving her sister, not corralling her murderer, and worst of all, being angry with her sister at the time of her death—well, that would drive anyone crazy.
And throughout the majority of the book, we are not entirely sure that Linda hasn't gone crazy. It's a tight first person narrative and it would be an understatement to say that Linda is an unreliable narrator. We, the readers, have a hard time believing her. There are so many reasons not to, and…

Review: Netflix's The Punisher

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"Guys like you and me... we're not good people, Frank." I guess it's a sign of the times that it was difficult to track down a review of Netflix's The Punisher that was simply a review. Apparently, that type of simplicity is boring now. Instead, the pre-release reviews all seemed to have a very similar spin: The Punisher was good, but it missed the opportunity to "make a statement" about guns. This is a narrative that, alas, does not hold water. But in the interest in rectifying the lack of thoughtful critique of the actual show (at least in major media outlets), I will rectify that first before explaining to those dipshits exactly what The Punisher and Frank Castle were saying about guns and what they do to people.
First off, the show is fantastic. It begins where Season 2 of Daredevil left off, with Frank Castle AKA The Punisher finishing off the last two men who were involved in the murder of his wife and two children. With that task finished (and in f…

Fissure cast—For my inevitable worldwide fame

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It's that time again.

I had such a good time creating my dream cast for Sunder, I decided to do it again for Fissure.


You've all seen the cover, now you can see the group of talented actors who lent me their faces, voices, and souls (seriously, I have them in a jar) while I was writing. For some of them, the characters came to me long before I assigned them a face or specific mannersims. But some characters were created simply because I saw the actors and were struck so firmly by their presence, I was compelled to use them in my stories.

It sounds creepy, but I'm a writer... did you expect any different?




 So what do you think? Is this what you envisioned as you read?