03/1/16

March Writing Goals

It is March 1st.  My birthday is in a few days, therefore, this is my month.  Every day of March feels special to me.

I have decided, therefore, to make March special.  I’m going to set myself a daily writing goal and really work on my craft.  I want to look back at the end of this month and be shocked and amazed at the progress I’ve made.

I’ve tried setting goals in March before, but with little success.  I have not yet succeeded at duplicating NaNoWriMo in the Spring.  In previous attempts, I’ve focused on word count.  I said that I would write 30,000 words in March, or something like that.  I set goals that seemed reasonable at the time.  Unfortunately, I fell short, and felt discouraged going into April.

This month I’m taking a different approach.  I’m not going to focus on word count as much as time.  Some days, I may produce thousands of words.  Others, I might not produce any.  The goal is spend at least 30 minutes writing or editing every day this month.  Even Mondays and Tuesdays, when my time is most limited.

I may accompany the writing with blog posts, like this one.  I’m not sure yet.  Tonight, it’s too late to get any actual writing or editing done.  I’m going to go to bed soon.  But I can take my manuscript with me and spend some time reading my revisions.  I can prepare.  It won’t increase my word count, but it will keep me involved, and it will make the next time I sit down to write that much more productive.

At least half an hour each day.  I can find a half hour, no problem.

What goal will you set for yourself in March?

02/24/16

The State of my Writing

Instead of writing a post before editing tonight, I’ve decided to take a break between chapters.  The next chapter is good, but it’s going to take some effort to clean up and bring to the level of my standards.  Now is a good time to sit back and gather my strength for the next bit of work.

So, where am I with my writing?

Literally, I’m at a Starbucks.  Not the one I’d been attending with Michael.  This one is a little bit bigger, and stays open a little bit later.  I used to like to work here back when I wanted to make Stormbreaker Software a thing.  Now, it’s a decent place to work on my fiction when I need to get out of the house and surround myself with productive white noise.

The question isn’t about my physical location.  It’s about my life as a writer.  What am I doing?  Where is this all going?  Have I given up yet, or am I still plugging along?

I’m continuing to edit The Repossessed Ghost.  The more I work on it, the more excited I get about it.  It’s a good story!  It isn’t perfect.  I don’t expect it to be a New York Times best seller.  But it’s good!  I really think anyone that likes Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files will like my book.

The first draft of The Repossessed Ghost came out to be a little over 60,000 words.  Too short to sell through the traditional route.  The first draft had been 24 chapters in length.  In the second draft, I’ve been expanding places and adding story elements that should have been here from the beginning.  I’m currently on chapter 25.  I think there are about 15 chapters left.

What am I going to do with it when its done?  What am I going to do with myself?

I’ll submit it to my writer’s group.  They’ve seen part of it already, and they seemed to enjoy it.  I’ll give it to some other readers, and make sure it is as good as I hope it is.  I’ll do another draft, though I imagine the third draft will not be as deep as the second has been.

Then I’ll need to make some decisions.  I’ll try to get an agent.  If I’m successful, and the book gets picked up, great!  If I’m not, then I’ll need to find an editor.  I’ll need to find an artist.  And then I’ll need to self-publish.

I’ve already written a book that sits in a drawer.  I’m not going to do that with this book.  The Repossessed Ghost deserves a chance to be in front of readers.

That says more about where I am with my writing life than anything.  I have confidence in my work.  I’ve beaten my fears, and my inner editor.

Progress is slower than I want, but I am still progressing.  And when I’m done with The Repossessed Ghost, I’ve got a couple of other books to finish.  And if The Repossessed Ghost really takes off, I’ve got sequels in mind.

I don’t need to make a ton of money with my writing.  I don’t need to be famous.  But I would like this to be my career, and I really want people to enjoy my stories.

So I’ll keep going, and see what the future holds.  Who knows?  Maybe I’m doing exactly what I need to do to make my dreams come true.

02/10/16

Why I Prefer Sanders to Clinton

Let’s begin by addressing sexism.  I want a woman to be President.  Just not Hillary Clinton.  If Elizabeth Warren were running for President, I would choose her over Clinton and Sanders.  She is smart, addresses many of the same issues Sanders does, and everything I’ve seen of her has impressed me.

I need to start here because gender is part of this campaign, whether we want it to be or not.  Some of Sanders’ devout have been downright nasty on this point.  Bill Clinton has rightfully blasted “Bernie Bro” supporters, and Sanders himself has said that he doesn’t want that kind of support.  On Clinton’s side, the topic of gender hasn’t been much better.  Steinem and Albright both missed the mark when Steinem said women supporting Sanders are doing it to find men, and Albright told women that there is a special place in hell for women if they did not support Hillary Clinton, because Hillary Clinton is a woman.

Any feminist should be embarrassed by Steinem’s and Albright’s remarks.  Votes should be earned, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or lineage.

Gender should not be an issue.  It will be in this election, because we have a lot of unenlightened people.  Some will want Sanders to win over Clinton because Clinton is a woman.  And some will want Clinton to win over Sanders, for the exact same reason.  Hopefully those people will cancel each other out.

For the rest of us, we should be making our decisions based on what they say, and what their record shows.  From what I’ve seen, Sanders has been consistent, and I agree with him in principle on issues he’s taken a stand on.  I like the grassroots approach Sanders has taken in his pursuit of the Presidency.  He flies coach, shows genuine humanity… I believe him.  Do I think he’ll accomplish everything that he says he wants to do?  No.  But I believe he will try, and that’s what I want my President to do.

Clinton, on the other hand, is a political machine.  She’s every bit as slick as her husband, shifting and adapting as the situation demands.  For example, her recent efforts have been to tie herself to Obama, and associate Obama’s successes with her Presidential aspirations.  This is a sharp contrast to her tune in 2008.

In fact, let’s take a look back in time at her 2008 bid.  She made wins during that run, but they were ugly.  When she won Nevada, articles referred to allegations that Clinton tried to manipulate the vote.  There is language in those articles about “push polls,” the same language I’ve seen recently about Clinton’s campaign this year.

Clinton is a fierce competitor.  She will do and say whatever it takes to get the Presidency, I have no doubt.  And because of this, I don’t trust her.  I didn’t trust her in 2008.  I don’t trust her now.

Unfortunately, the race between Clinton and Sanders for the Democratic bid may not be decided by the public.  Sanders secured a landslide victory in New Hampshire, but it doesn’t matter.  Clinton gained more delegates than Sanders, even though she lost.

Clinton has received way more attention in the media than Sanders.  Trump has received more attention than both Clinton and Sanders combined, but Trump is a circus act.  He’s entertainment, driving up ratings because his campaign is an intriguing story.  In a similar fashion, Clinton has received favorable treatment in the media.  The “first woman President” makes for a great story, so why wouldn’t there be a media bias?  It’s much more exciting than the “first Jewish President.”

Those are my thoughts in regards to why I prefer Sanders over Clinton.  The bottom line is that I do not trust her.  It is not because she’s a woman.  It’s because she is a politician, playing the game.

Let me end with this: If it comes down to a choice between Clinton and Trump or Cruz, I will choose Clinton.  Both Trump and Cruz represent the worst of America.  With the way the Democratic race is playing out, it looks like I will have to choose Clinton.  I’m not going to avoid voting, just because my first choice isn’t on the ballot.  No one in the Republican running deserves to be President, based on their words and their record.

02/6/16

The Internet is Immature

I’ve been thinking about the world I remember before the internet, and the world I know now.  We are a people forever changed by a world made so much smaller.  We are connected, with the vastness of human experience and knowledge at our fingertips.  Interconnected humanity is like a new creature, huge and powerful.  And like any living thing, interconnected humanity must have a life cycle: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and death.

Think about the mid 90s, and what The Internet looked like.  The Internet struggled to find a common language.  Static websites dotted the surface of the landscape, experimental and naive.  Like an infant learning to lift its head, we toyed around with different browsers.  We could see the potential of The Internet, but we needed more infrastructure and more language before that potential could be realized.

A few years later, search engines started to appear on the web, making it easier to find each other.  Bandwidth began to grow.  The earliest web applications were born, and more dynamic content started to show us what we might one day do with The Internet.

Just before the year 2000, The Internet entered a period of stunning growth.  New businesses came into being.  The Dot Com Era sprang up, like a toddler taking its first steps.  And like the toddler, we fell a few times while we were learning to walk.

Now, we have greater sophistication.  We have Google and Amazon and other business models that could never have existed before The Internet.  The Internet is like The Force, surrounding us and binding us together.  It’s on our phones.  It’s in the air.  We are all connected, all the time, talking, texting, typing.  Young adults today have never known a time when The Internet didn’t exist.  We, the living, breathing creature that is made up of human beings, with a nervous system constructed out of wire and TCP/IP, must surely be in our adulthood now, right?

I don’t think so.  The Internet is amazing, sure, but we still obsessed with boobs and cat videos.  If I was to place an age on us, I would say we’re in our early teens at the oldest.

Internet porn is not the only evidence.  Look at the way we interact with each other.  Look at the comments on YouTube videos.

“But Brian,” you say, “That’s YouTube.  Of course the comments there are going to be immature.  The target audience of YouTube is a younger crowd.”

Okay, then look at the comments on political news articles.  Or, if you want to retain faith in humanity, DON’T look at those comments.  What you’ll find there is close-minded, bigoted, hateful name calling and vitriol.  That’s from both the right and the left.

Interconnected humanity is not a terrible creature.  We are just young.  We haven’t learned to play well with each other.  Like children, we’re prone to hyperbole and tantrums.  Like children, we reduce complex issues into black and white, right or wrong, binary thinking.  We can be sweet, but we’re often self-absorbed, lacking the maturity required to be consistently considerate.

We are learning.  We are discovering that we have strength, and can change the world when we focus.  We have inclinations towards addressing social issues, though we may not always agree on how to talk about those issues, or how to solve the problems.  Though we still have more work to do, we should be amazed at we’ve managed to do already.  We’re slowly but surely getting better at accepting each other’s differences.

We still have a ways to go, but I’m hopeful.  I look at us and I believe we will get better.  We will mature.  And what amazing things will we do then?

01/27/16

Successful Editing Tonight

I’m editing as quickly and as thoroughly as I can.  It’s painful, exhilarating, exhausting, and reinvigorating, all at different times.  Tonight, I’ve felt all of those things and more.

While editing, I find myself wondering how I could have ever shown this story to anyone.  The story itself is okay, but the writing?  Why did I use the passive voice so much?  Was I in love with the word “was”?

As hard as I’m working on this, progress is slow.  If I didn’t have a full time job, maybe I could get this finished in a few weeks.  At my current pace, I don’t know when I’ll finish.  This is the greatest source of frustration for me, and I have to work really hard to avoid getting discouraged.

I knew the chapter I was going to work on tonight would be trouble when I got to it, and it has been.  The prose needed a lot of work.  The action needed better pacing.  The whole thing needed tweaking.  The whole chapter was a fetid swamp, and I needed it to be a fresh smelling meadow.

I put my head down and pushed through.  Parts were replaced.  Details were enhanced.  Some sentences became shorter.  I crafted better metaphors, and found stronger verbs.  I banished every “was” that I found.

And now I have a much cleaner chapter that actually fits into story and progresses it the way I intended.

I’ve talked before about the difference between talent and skill.  Talent is like raw strength, while skill is the product of work and practice.  When it comes to playing sax, I have a little bit of talent, and enough skill to make my talent seem like more than it is.  I’ve met and played with people that had more talent, but were less skilled.  And I’ve played with a few people were both more talented AND more skilled.  Stefan, the musician that subs in for us in RC Swing, fits that category.

When it comes to writing, I feel like I have more talent than I have skill.  I have a strong vocabulary, and I can get my ideas across.  But as I’ve discovered while editing this book, I’m clumsy and bullish.  There are moments I can be proud of, but those places are surrounded by amateur efforts that detract from the work as a whole.

Looking back at what I’ve said so far in this post, I can’t tell if I’m bragging or putting myself down.  Maybe a little of both.  What I want to say is that tonight, I’ve seen myself grow as a writer.  I feel like I’m starting to really hone my skills.

I still have a long ways to go, but I’m going to get there.  I’m still moving along, one word at a time.

01/18/16

Covering the Democrats

I’ve mostly been avoiding the Presidential race, because everything that happens a year before the election is just distraction and a stage show.  The electorate doesn’t remember what happened last month, let alone what happened a year ago.

Until last night, I’d only watched some clips of the debates.  I watched all of last night’s Democratic debate, and formed some opinions about the candidates.

This morning, I read an article by a major network, and formed an opinion about ABC News.  It is not a very favorable opinion.

I’ve retained animosity towards Fox News for a long time.  The thing about Fox News is that they’re so damn obvious with their spin.  When they present news, they are as subtle as a fog horn.  They are successful, because they know their target audience, and they’re playing to it.

Having watched a debate, and having read what ABC News presents of it, I’m startled by the nuance and subtlety.  There is reality, which I observed with my own eyes and ears, and there is ABC’s narrative, where everything hinges on Hillary Clinton.

As I said briefly on Facebook, if any of the three Democrat candidates became President, I would not fear for my country.  I cannot say the same about any of the Republican candidates.

Being an intelligent, literate adult these last few months, I’ve observed the media’s treatment of Donald Trump.  Again, it is not subtle.  There is a sick fascination and curiosity when it comes to Trump, and what he’s going to say next.  He’s using his experience in the WWE to great effect, painting himself as a heal, and getting the crowd on its feet.

There is a narrative surrounding Trump, and that narrative keeps him in the news and the consciousness of the world.  We’re being entertained by his antics.

And now I see that Hillary Clinton is receiving the same sort of treatment, to a lesser extent.  She’s not following the same script as Trump, but the media that enables Trump to stay on the world’s stage is working their magic on Clinton’s behalf.

As I said before, I wouldn’t mind if Clinton became President.  She’s not my favorite in this race, perhaps for silly reasons.  For one, she’s a slick politician, subtle in the ways she shifts position.  She puts on an accent when she visits the South.  I didn’t like her as a candidate in 2008, and I don’t like her much as a candidate now.  I prefer her over Trump or Cruz or any of the rest of the Republican crazies, but that isn’t saying much.

I prefer Bernie this year, but I have some apprehension.  I’m not excited about his Medicare expansion idea.  I agree with the idea of providing medical care as a right, but I don’t think we’re going to get there anytime soon.  I don’t think Medicare is the way.  Also, I’m not very comfortable with unabashed socialism.

Ultimately, it won’t matter which Democrat becomes the next president.  If by some tragedy/miracle it is O’Malley (I had to take a few moments to look up his name), he hasn’t demonstrated the strength or personality to get equal time on a debate stage.  How will he fair against a Congress that has been willing to fight Obama on everything, just on general principles?

Neither Clinton nor Sanders will have much luck pushing legislation.  There is too much money going into Congress from special interests.  The system is broken, and focused in the wrong direction.  Whatever lofty goals Clinton or Sanders may have, they will find Congress minefield.

And that is probably the one reason I favor Sanders this year, because he acknowledges this, and talks about trying to fix it.  I don’t honestly think he’ll have any success, but I’d like to see someone try.

One of the challenges this year will be catching the debates, rather than relying on the media to give me accurate summaries.  CNN did a better job than ABC, but I think the only one I can trust on this matter is myself.  And I encourage everyone voting this year to do the same thing.  Don’t listen to the parrots and spin doctors.  Watch, listen, and make up your own mind.

01/6/16

Intentional Patriotism

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2016!  Let’s get some great writing done this year.

Before I get back to working on fiction, I want to take a moment to talk about patriotism.  I don’t want to get too much into politics.  I just want to get some thoughts about America out of my heart and mind before my chest bursts.

For starters, I don’t know if anyone else would consider me patriotic.  I have a few idiosyncrasies which separate me from what comes to mind when imagining an American patriot.  For example, I don’t like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

“But Brian!” exclaimed Strawman Number One. “Why not?  Are you some kind of Communist scum?”

“Is it because of the ‘under God’ part?” asked Strawman Number Two.

No, it’s neither of those things.  It’s actually much simpler than that.  There are two main reasons I don’t care to recite it.

  1. I don’t like pledging allegiance to a flag.
  2. A person of integrity shouldn’t have to pledge their allegiance more than once.

That’s it.  There are a couple of other reasons, but those are the main two.  Let’s break them down.

Why should anyone pledge their allegiance to a flag?  If it were stated, “I pledge allegiance to the United States of America,” then I’d probably be okay with it.  But the flag?  What does that even mean?  If someone were to run down the street with Old Glory snapping and waiving on a stick above them, are those that pledged allegiance obligated to run behind?  It doesn’t make any sense to me.

It makes me question the use of flags.  As I see it, the practical uses of a flag are to mark property or to distinguish armies from one another.  Everything beyond that is semi-mystical fiddle-faddle.

As to the second reason, I joined the Air Force.  When I joined, I took an oath of enlistment.  Here are the words:

“I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

When I swore that oath, I did so without reservations, and without an expiration date.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m still under oath to support and defend the Constitution, and will be until either I’m dead, or there is nothing left to defend.

So why should I pledge allegiance again?

I don’t care for mindless rituals.  I’m very uncomfortable with the notion of mixing patriotism and faith or religion.

As to the “under God” part?  I honestly don’t care.  In my opinion, if someone has a problem with that part of the pledge of the allegiance, they can just omit that part, or replace it with the name of their deity.

But since I’ve spent so much time talking about the pledge of allegiance, let’s focus on a part of it that should make people concerned.  There is another word in the pledge that people should take much more seriously.  Here is the full pledge, with the word I’m talking about bolded for emphasis.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Indivisible.  That is, “unable to be divided or separated.”

Looking around our nation, we are divided or separated on everything.  Partisanship is so prevalent that people aren’t listening to each other.  We are divided on matters of political affiliation, gender, race, sexual preference, geographical location, economic status… you name it, we are polarized about it.  And from my perspective, it’s getting worse.

I don’t know what to do about it.  I’ve spent a great deal of time in this post describing how I might not be considered a patriot, but here’s the simple truth: I love my country.  It’s my home.  I want to see it prosper.  I want everyone that chooses to live here to have life, liberty, health, and happiness.

How can we make this a better place?  For starters, I think we should listen more than we talk.  When our president announced his plans for tightening gun laws, I think our first response should have been to listen carefully, and not immediately flee to social media to post misinformed memes.

We need more intelligent conversations, and less parroting of propaganda.  We need calm assertiveness more than we need frantic aggressiveness.  We need maturity and a willingness to compromise, not name calling and blind stubbornness.

This is an election year.  Maybe the first step is to become informed.  Let’s look at what each candidate is actually saying, and what they’re doing, and not make quick decisions based on their gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

And then, once we’re informed, let’s be true patriots and vote our conscience.

12/18/15

My Star Wars Experience

I’ve been sick most of the week.  While I was working from home one of the days, I messaged my boss with the idea that the whole department should go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a team building excursion.  He thought it a great idea, and bought 20 tickets for today’s 11AM showing.

As I write this, it’s been hours since I watched the movie.  I’m still buzzing.  I need to talk about Star Wars, and let out some of these emotions.

I’m not going to go into spoilers.  I’m not going to talk about the plot, or give anything away.  I’m mostly going to talk about what Star Wars means to me, and how I felt about the latest installment.

I can remember seeing the original Star Wars, a little bit.  I think it was in a drive-in, and as young as I was, I slept through parts of it.  The only thing I really remember is that I thought the stormtroopers were scary.

Later, I saw Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the theater.  I remember those experiences well.  I remember playing with the toys, and wanting to be Luke Skywalker.  When I was young, I honestly didn’t have a lot of respect for Han Solo.  He was the guy that was in it for the money.  Luke’s ambitions were more noble.

I eventually became a huge Star Wars fan.  The seeds were planted in my youth, which grew into a greater and greater appreciation over time.  In my mid twenties, my interest reached its pique.  That’s when I started playing on Star Wars MUSH.  I stayed active there for most of a decade.  I spent years developing my writing by collaborating in Star Wars fan fiction.

I remained a steady fan until The Phantom Menace.  I went in with all of the excitement.  Honestly, I enjoyed the movie, because my enthusiasm overrode my critical thinking.  I remember leaving the theater smiling, with only a shadow of disappointment in what I’d just watched.

At this point, I could start tearing the prequels apart.  I won’t, this time.  I will just say that as a huge fan, and someone that brings a lot of forgiveness to the movies, the prequels exhausted me.  My passion for Star Wars diminished.  I starting describing myself as someone that used to be a Star Wars fan.

When I heard that Disney was going to make Episode VII, I suppressed my hope.  When I heard that J.J. Abrams was going to direct it, I became apprehensive.  I thought the new Star Trek movies were fun, but in my opinion, they weren’t true to the spirit of the originals.  Did I really want J.J. giving Star Wars the same treatment, and splattering it with lens flares?

As the opening drew closer and closer, I stayed as far away from spoilers as I could.  I only watched the first trailer.  I avoided articles and YouTube videos that talked about the upcoming movie.  I wanted to go in with fresh eyes, and try to enjoy the movie on its own merits.

To be honest, I may have done too good a job stamping down my hope.  Several friends kept commenting about counting down the date, and I kept finding myself surprised at how close it was getting.  I didn’t keep a countdown.  I put the movie out of my mind, and the release date snuck up on me.

The day finally arrived.  I went with my coworkers.  We found decent seats.  And for the first time in a long time, I watched a Star Wars movie for the first time.

When I realized that what I was watching was an actual Star Wars movie, I grew a little teary eyed.  This was the kind of experience I’d hoped for with the prequels.  This was a movie that felt like Star Wars.  A movie that fit with the stories that had inspired me.  This new Star Wars movie did not demand justification or apologies from me.

The movie finished, and I sat still for several moments, satisfied.  Then I got up and went back to work, my head buzzing with what I’d just seen.

The Force Awakens was not flawless.  I think it should have ended about 5 minutes sooner than it did.  But it did made me feel something I hadn’t felt in over twenty years.  It was not a perfect movie, but it was a Star Wars movie.  And I can’t wait to see it again.

12/16/15

The Gig at Camden Springs

My writing has stalled.  The last few weeks, I’ve been busier with band than I’ve been since High School.  We put on a successful Pancake Breakfast with Santa this weekend, and the concert band had an outstanding concert at the church where we’ve been practicing.  We’ve had some great successes, and my time has been well spent.

But the event that made it all worth it took place last night, at the Camden Springs retirement home in Elk Grove.

Normally, RC Swing practices on Tuesday nights, but last night, we went to Camden Springs and performed.  We set up in a foyer, cramped together tighter than normal.  We kept the tiled area in front of us clear, in case the residents wanted to dance.  On the other side of the small dance floor sat several sofas in a semi circle.  A balcony stood above us, allowing more residents to look down and listen to us play.

As we set up our equipment, people came to watch, eager for our performance.  One man approached me.  He used a walker, and his hands were painfully twisted with arthritis.  He told me he played bass.  I knew that our bass player was going to be late, so I invited him to join us, without really giving it much thought.

His name was Ed, and he did great!  When Geno, our regular bass player arrived in the middle of the first set, Geno took a seat and enjoyed the show.  Ed wound up playing both sets with us, and had a blast doing it.

He wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the show.  People told us, with tears in their eyes, how the music we played took them back.  One man talked to me after the performance about his time playing coronet with the British Army.  Another woman told us how it was a perfect end to her 81st birthday.

This is why we play music.  To touch lives, and make people happy for a little while.

My hope is that someday, my writing will touch people’s lives the way my music did Tuesday evening.  Even if it’s just one person, like Ed on the bass.  It’s that kind of joy that makes all the difference in the world.

11/18/15

I’m a Guest!

Holy cow!  I wrote something for someone else!

Here is a link: Leasspell – The WordWright Guild

Jennifer Carson invited me to write a guest blog post.  It was the first time I’ve ever been invited to do something like that, and I felt honored and privileged.  Seeing something I wrote in someone else’s space… this feels almost as good as getting published.

The title of the post is Pride of the Writer, which is a follow up to Fears of the Writer.

Jennifer is one of those people you need in your life when you’re a writer.  She is experienced and knowledgeable in the field, both in editing and writing.  She is genuinely kind without being saccharine.  She provides praise when its earned.  She’s also unafraid to tell you when you’ve gone astray, being firm without being cruel.  She is more interested in helping a writer tell their story, rather then inject her own.

I know these things about Jennifer, because she was one of the pros at the last writer’s workshop I attended.  She’s maintained contact, expressing interest in the progress of The Repossessed Ghost.

Please visit her blog.  She has a number of interesting and entertaining posts.  Also, she had some really nice things to say about me, and the only way you’ll get to see what she said is to visit.