Category Archives: How I Work

Murder On The Old Santa Fe Trail

A Western short story I wrote just for fun — Murder On The Old Santa Fe Trail — has been accepted by Planetary Stories/Pulp Spirit. Read the story here.  And here’s an example of the illustrations that Planetary Stories/Pulp Spirit want to run with the story.  Many thanks to my friends in the Fort Mason […]

Survival Is Insufficient

I launched my agent quest this morning.  Emails went out to nine agents pre-qualified for their history of selling debut novels and historical fiction. Most people would look at my odds and argue that even trying is an irrational act. I agree. But I’d rather die trying. I did the numbers: Those nine sold 129 […]

Test Reader Feedback: Taking the Risk Out of New Fiction

Making new fiction successful in the marketplace is probably the highest risk enterprise ever invented.  So I can’t help but try to mitigate that risk, and one way is to get feedback on my novel In the Mouth of the Wolf from a test panel of regular readers.  These are not writers or aspiring writers, […]

Thank you, Robert!

A spec cover design by my Vashon Island friend Robert Leung, based on reading my first two chapters.  Looks like a thriller!  Guess I’d better MAKE it a thriller…  

In the Mouth of the Wolf vs Amedeo

I’ve settled on a new title for the novel formerly known as “Amedeo.”  Too many readers leapt from “Amedeo” to “Amadeus” and thought of Mozart.  The new title comes from the use in the opening scene of an old Italian wolf hunter’s good luck wish:  In bocca al lupo —  crepi il lupo.  Roughly translated:  […]

Thank you, Catherine and Sejal

Comments from two of my wonderful readers: I only read this style of novel occasionally and frequently I read reluctantly, but if I start, I make myself finish. With your story, I read eagerly, excitedly, and hungrily. The pacing of the narration borders on the masterful. — Catherine Linn, Bermuda Dunes, CA Amedeo is just […]

The Last Demitasse

Why is a 19th century demitasse important? The morning after he destroys all his family’s porcelain plateware, in a rage over going bankrupt because of his gambling, Giovanni stumbles into the kitchen for an espresso made by his daughter Anna, 10. His sons Umberto and Amedeo look on as Giovanni realizes he is drinking from […]

Bellevue Reading

Great fun doing a reading last night at the Bellevue Arts Museum for the Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation. Thank you Lorenzo Giacani for inviting me and providing these photos.  Wow does that profile make me look like my Nonno Berto!    

Why do we teach Catcher in the Rye in high school?

As an exercise in craft development, I re-read J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” last week and came away with this assessment:

Beware of History

For big chunks of the past three days, I’ve been working on a critique of a book-length manuscript for Will Rose, a member of my writing group.  It’s been fascinating and instructive to dive way deeper into a book than a typical reading for entertainment.  “Why?” is the best question.  Why did the author choose […]