How to Talk to a Writer 101

A few weeks back, there was a Twitter meme going around called #thingsnottosaytoawriter. Based on the tweets it produced, I came to two conclusions: Writers are a cranky, sensitive bunch Readers, while awesome and well-meaning, sometimes say not-so-awesome things Since it’s back-to-school season, I thought now would be the perfect time for a little lesson on what you should and definitely should not say to an author. So get out your No. 2 pencils, kids. Class is in session. DO send an author an email or tweet if you Continue reading →

What’s Not to Love About Cheeky Kids?

The first time I read The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry I was smitten by fictional kids who stand up to adults. Back then, I liked Johnny because he had red hair and lived in the deep South. Me too. Today, the “Johnnies” are much tougher. There’s less of the innocence that characterized O. Henry’s fiction. But precocious youngsters still draw me into stories…probably because I’m a dad. I find observations about society so much more disturbing (or entertaining depending on what the writer is trying to accomplish) Continue reading →

Music Lost the “Comfort Cliché” – Will Writing?

Dear (anyone who wants to be) Abby: I was recently told alternating views by two pros in the business: One, being that cliché’s are annoying, readers hate them, and they should be banned from novels. The other saying, cliché’s are right for a story at times. Not only do they provide humor, but in this world with everything changing so drastically, a cliché can feel like home. Then…I saw portions of the CMA Festival and, because of country music, it seems I have gone to the Continue reading →


In truth, my dislike for the today-so-popular Serial Killer genre far predates my personal brushes with crazies. Since childhood, I’ve been turned off by such stories. My favorite mysteries have always involved murders committed by smart people who are barely outwitted by the hero/heroine. In fact, over the 12 years and 264 episodes of Murder, She Wrote, during which virtually the entire population of Cabot Cove, Maine, became homicide victims, we never did a script in which a psychopath was the killer. Nor did I Continue reading →