In the ink well

Dog Ear

March 5, 2015

The Game’s Afoot (DOG EAR)

riting is all about the worlds we create. Even if it’s contemporary, even if it’s fantasy, we need a background for our actions to take place in (or, rather, where our heroes can be heroic at). When writing Fire and Bronze back in the pre-internet days, I spent a lot of time in the public library, looking at old maps, trying to get my head around the layout and atmosphere of what had been the city of Carthage. How high was Brysa hill, the rise on which the city was centered? What was the harbor like? What did the surrounding […]
February 26, 2015

Tough Choices (DOG EAR)

ust watched The Wild Bunch at the insistence of my friend Greg. Great flick, and the more I thought about it today, the more I liked it. So why am I talking about movies in a writing blog? Well, for story, in this case. The story has a number of interesting points, one of which I’m very interested by. So, this band of aging outlaws in a changing early twentieth-century West are trying to pull off a last heist, something to set them up for life. They end up stealing rifles from a US Government shipment, getting clean away with […]
February 19, 2015

Architects (DOG EAR)

rose is architecture, not interior decoration” So said Ernest Hemingway, the writer’s writer. And at first, I was willing to agree with the statement. Now I’m having reservations. Clearly Hemingway firmed the idea of what a novel should be. His stories were sharp and to the point. I’ve mentioned To Have and Have Not, a wonderful tale that is gritty and sharp and drives towards its grim conclusion. I’m not an expert of 1930’s literature. Mostly, I’m a Sabatini fan, yet I have to admit that he can be flowery in his prose. Lovers labor over misunderstandings, endlessly blushing and […]
February 12, 2015

Reader (DOG EAR)

’ve heard of people who occasionally imagine their own obituaries. It is, I suppose, a morbid accounting of one’s life, to consider what one has achieved and how far one has climbed. For me, it’s the occasional imagined writing of my final Dog Ear piece. “It’s been a long road, but one that’s come to an end…” Sometimes, when I write about writing, I realize how little I know about this strange thing publishing has turned into. The idea of harvesting hits and reciprocal reviews and playing the Amazon rankings leaves me cold. As I see people hit big time […]
February 5, 2015

Your ad here (DOG EAR)

remember reading old paperbacks in the 70s, and how some of them would have a colored insert (on cardstock paper), ads for cigarettes or books or whatever. It was a little bit of advertising that only lasted as long as it took to toss it aside and get back to the story. Of course, those were those funny pre-market days. This latest bit I came across while reading What Money Can’t Buy (which will be reviewed in a couple of weeks). This is a book that looks at all the places the market has nosed into over the last thirty […]
January 29, 2015

Payoff (DOG EAR)

iscally I’ve done okay as a writer. I didn’t make any money off Fire and Bronze (the publisher folded after the sudden death of it’s president). Early ReTyrement broke even. Made a lot of money off Don’t Jettison Medicine and the subsequent followup short article/radio scripts. And then there was the erotica – that’s like a fun little hobby that pays for itself. I couldn’t live off this (unless I lived in a cardboard box under the freeway) but I do get a trickle of cash for all my efforts. But not everything is money. Went over to the house […]
January 22, 2015

Right Hand Man-uscript (DOG EAR)

‘m in my reader’s place, sitting at Juniors Diner, a short walk from the house. My wife and I are enjoying our books while browsing through our Sunday lunches, our standard routine. And beyond this normality, beyond the sunlight streaming through the picture window (with the reversed RENID neon sign), beyond the humming traffic, 35 million miles away, Mark Watney is really screwed on Mars. See, Mark was left behind on a Mars mission, accidently abandoned by his crew. And now, as told in Andy Weir’s deservedly successful The Martian, he’s struggling to survive. But something just happened, a component […]
January 15, 2015

Graphical Anuses (DOG EAR)

eah, yeah, so that’s a pretty crude title. Please keep reading and see when you get the point of it. Now, one thing about being a writer – and as I’ve said before – it’s not always about writing. This website, with twice a week minimum blogging, is not only writing but also web administration. Recently I had to work with my Greek pal Stergios to get the backups running again. And several months ago, I had a problem with bill-posting blog-jumpers. And two years ago, I got hacked and was being used for denial of service attacks. All this […]
January 8, 2015

Writing humor (DOG EAR)

’m not a comedic writer but occasionally I’ll slip a joke into the book (if warranted). I don’t think I did for Fire and Bronze (since I burn the troubled Elisha alive by the end of it (actually, from the very first line)), it was hard to go ha-ha with that. Early ReTyrement had some humorous moments and some funny bits. But Don’t Jettison Medicine (my book for doctors to decide if they should be doctors) had short funny exercises. And that’s the trick – it’s easy to write a witty character who says funny things over the long haul. […]
January 1, 2015

After the story (DOG EAR)

o I’m in Stephen Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane right now, a saga that a reader-chum at work convinced me to try. This has been on the back of my mind since my roomie in college (all those long years ago) raved about it. And it’s the usual fantasy novel. A lot of walking and a lot of strange names, races and titles. And while I can’t do anything about the travelogue, I remembered what I should do for the baffling syntax. Yeah, you got it. Flip to the back. And there’s the glossary. I can’t tell you how many times […]