Caught on Podcast! Methodically Musing

It was my great honor last night to talk fiction with the wonderful Sherry Welton Wilds as she debuts her new show The Method and the Muse. What a great (and short!) session, and I hope those who listen get value for their time.

If I remember correctly, and this would be a new development, here’s some elaboration and errata:

– Sherry mentioned “First Rodeo,” published not so long ago at Kings River Life. I get more into the story and character here.

– I read from an oldie but goodie “Dark Days for the Professor.” I get more into the story here. And here’s the bit about deleting all those early words.

– My bit about setting up a story as akin to dealing the cards was paraphrased from an Ann Patchett talk. The image nails how to open directly or through foreshadowing when storytelling.

– I was asked about Poe’s Unity of Effect. It’s a thing, y’all.

– And remember, short stories get read in one sitting. They are Ending Delivery Systems, with the various elements building to deliver the Resonant Moment.

– Yes, I am all about Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.

Taxes Can Be Murder: A Giveaway

Taxes Can Be Murder

Update, 4/17: Congrats to  Round One winner Mary Lou Holhouser. Terrie and I had such fun we’re giving away a second double-dose on Tuesday, April 21! Keep the comments here and on Facebook coming.

Two authors.

Two signed issues.

One tough tax deadline.

One killer magazine.

Your chance to Continue reading Taxes Can Be Murder: A Giveaway

Behind: “Two Bad Hamiltons and a Hirsute Jackson”

Fleur de lisViolet Celucci is a better angel and an inner demon. A frigging genius is how Vi might describe herself, a bastion of sanity in a disorderly world, a process improvement-seeking missile. An over-obsessed stickler for efficiency is how she’d never describe herself. Sorry, Vi. The truth hurts, and so can life. Tough as you are, I see the breaks in your armor.

I can write Vi because over the years I’ve worked with my share of consultants and industrial engineers. You know the folks I mean: big-brained and unapologetic process nerds committed to life by timetable. And we need those folks. Process folks dream up boxes that fit our mail-orders just so; they reduce plant emissions and build supertankers; they took our rover to Mars. This month Vi took my story “Two Bad Hamiltons and a Hirsute Jackson” into Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine’s May 2015 humor edition. The company she and I are keeping there is humbling.

AHM515-finalcoverOkay, I can also write Vi’s craving for order among chaos because some days, at some level, it is also my own. 

We have a Venn diagram overlap, she might say.

Vi sprung from a high-caliber question: what if those big-brained engineers lived every livelong moment the way they worked their flowcharts and daily operating reports? How they shopped, for example, or how they cooked, how they sought–or didn’t–friends and lovers. Surely in the end that kind of quest would make life more difficult. Extra balls juggled, needless battles fought, friends and family distanced. That’s Vi. Her obsession demands she take the hard road to make it more efficient next time. And it might work, if immovable reality ever played along. Continue reading Behind: “Two Bad Hamiltons and a Hirsute Jackson”

Sweet Roam, Alabama

 

14354_10203319762303666_380448132010716361_n
photo by Paula Benson

They had me at “rolling tailgate party.” There it was in plain print in the invite. Please join us down here in Alabama, the organizers said, and don’t worry about Friday night icebreakers because Margaret’s rolling tailgate party had things covered. Yes, I admit envisioning some mechanical lovechild of liquor cart meets Bama game, but that only added to the intrigue. Plus there would be talk of books. So it was with much excitement, and a taste for a gin and tonic, that last weekend I drove the three hours to Birmingham. No, there wasn’t a liquor cart with grill and sauce attachment.*

They did way better, Margaret and Tammy and all the volunteers who worked their tails off.

They put on a wonderful weekend.

FEB. 7: MURDER IN THE MAGIC CITY
HOMEWOOD LIBRARY, Birmingham, AL

It is a scientific fact that crime writers–the modern ones, anyway–are Continue reading Sweet Roam, Alabama