• blog,  On Writing

    Write Like A Boss: How to Establish Narrative Authority and Gain the Reader’s Trust

    This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here: To write a great beginning that will keep the reader engaged, we’ve got to do three things: grab their attention, hook them with a promise and convince them that this story is the one they need to read. Convincing them takes a combination of persuasion and authority. Once we have their attention, enticing them with a promise is part of the persuasion — if the hook promises a payoff they are interested in, access to special information, a thrilling suspense,…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Mastering “The Hook” in Your Writing

    This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here. Many of us think we can measure success in writing by sales, but any number of factors can impact your book sales that don’t have to do with your writing. You are a writer. Your job as a writer is not to sell units of books — that’s the job of the publisher and the bookstore. Your job as a writer is to keep the reader reading.  Keep her reading the next word, sentence, page, and chapter despite all the…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Are You Brainstorming or Beginning? Where Does Writing Start?

    This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here: Writing is hard work but for most of us, it’s also fulfilling work. Whether you write fiction, poetry or non-fiction, writing comes from a creative spark that ignites a fire within us to express this idea through writing and, for many, to share this idea with others. The struggle many have with writing isn’t just the discomfort in revealing their ideas or vulnerabilities or in exploring the dark and frightening parts of their psyches with the world, the hardest part…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Four Ways to Grab the Reader’s Attention in the First Sentence

    Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t grab your reader in the first sentence, you could miss it. This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here. There are so many things competing for our attention it’s even hard to focus on the important things, it’s hard to stay on task. We are easily distracted and hard pressed to really focus on something. With fast-paced TV shows, high tech movies and the scandal, drama and salacious content in bite-sized portions on social media, how are we, as novelists, supposed to…

  • blog,  Pop Culture

    Meeting Walter Kirn

    The first time I met Walter Kirn was in the late 90s. When I met him again last year, I didn't expect that it would result in an adventure with Harper's Magazine!

  • blog,  Book Reviews,  Feminism,  Pop Culture

    Book Review: Three Reasons You Need to Listen to the Audible Version of Free Women, Free Men by Camille Paglia

      I’ve been a fan of Camille Paglia since the summer of 1997 when I sat in the un-air conditioned spare bedroom of my grandmother’s house reading Sexual Personae and wondering at her bold, smart and vibrant tone. The ideas she wrote about were new to me and while I enjoyed the book in my early twenties I can’t say Paglia’s subject matter resonated with me or that I fully understood her concepts until the last few years. I am also a fan of listening to books primarily due to being in a constant time crunch. I can listen in the car or while cleaning, or even through earphones while…

  • blog,  Humor,  Medium,  Mindset

    Nicknames, You Called Me What?

    Nicknames belie a certain intimacy. They are gifted by someone who knows us or knew us in a way others didn’t. Then this bit of history carries on, sometimes long after the giver is gone. The name spreads to others without the history or the intimacy, giving strangers, acquaintances, new friends the impression they know you better than they do. Or that they know something about you that you didn’t share yourself. Do we choose our nicknames or do our nicknames choose us? Do our nicknames become us, or do we become our nicknames? At the same time, they can create distance and confusion as people struggle with what to…

  • blog,  Humor,  Mindset,  On Writing

    What I Hate About My Readers

    The one thing I can’t stand about my readers is that you assume everything I write is autobiographical. Maybe not ALL my readers, but the ones who talk to me assume this. And honestly, the rest of you who don’t talk to me probably assume it too but just don’t say anything, so I take it back. This is what I hate about ALL my readers. I hate it. It drives me up the wall. It makes me crazy. And this is why: First Of All When you come to me and ask me if something is about me, you are never really asking. You think you already know the…