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The Pope’s Cat

When I read a book to my grandsons, I read from the beginning. Specifically, we pause and read the page containing the author’s name and illustrator’s name (I’m sure there’s a fancy word for this page, but I don’t know what it is.) I start here because I want the boys to understand that who wrote the book is important and who illustrated it is...

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Chiseling On Through, Y’all

I have just completed another rewrite of Jazzy and the Pirate. I created a document to hold the cuts I made, in case I wanted to add them back in. The document is 31,252 words. That’s 124 pages. The finished version of this draft is 48 pages shorter than my last draft. (I read once that you don’t have a first draft until someone reads it; I had...

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After a Year, Enough

I have lived in shock for a year. I could not believe that a man who put himself at the center of the universe and tore down everyone around him in the ugliest manner possible had been elevated to the presidency. The vote of my fellow and sister Americans sanctioning his behavior felt like gaslighting, an attempt to convince me that all I saw...

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Cherry Bomb, St. Mary of Egypt, and Redemption

At one point in my life when I was struggling with betrayal, I went to my Episcopal priest for advice. He suggested that during this difficult time, I might find it easier to pray to Mother Mary. I followed his suggestion, and thus began a lifelong relationship with the mother of God. CHERRY BOMB takes this concept and expands it to a near-magical...

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I Bet You do it Too

The first Community Writers Retreat I put together for Door of Hope Writing Group, the panel of facilitators was white. Every writer I’d identified to come and teach us about writing in an all-day conference was Caucasian. I wasn’t being racist. I was asking for favors: will you come—unpaid—to the Retreat and teach a workshop on writing? Of course...

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Recording Under a Train

Recording this TRACKING HAPPINESS novel is about to do me in. The final take is almost in the can (is that an appropriate phrase for a recorded novel?) I’m laying in bed, worn out. I’ve recorded the durn thing three times. On the first take, the quality sucked. I hadn’t yet found the Amazing Black Box that Eats Ambient Noise...

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Writing as Hope

Romans 8:24-25 24 But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. I am working on a trilogy. The first novel is in the hands of my agent. He’s had it for two years. He hasn’t sold it . . . yet. This novel is THE BONE TRENCH. Here’s the “elevator...

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The Brain and Writing Contests

As part of my quest to become an amateur neuropsychologist, I have recently read two books on the brain. Even though they were national bestsellers, I am taking the position they gave me insights into the workings of the brain that few others possess. The latest book focuses A LOT on statistics and probability. Now, I tutored football players...

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