Category Archives: Writing

I’m a contender, for the moment

My book, Now Appearing in Baghdad, is a finalist for Boaz Publishing’s Fabri Prize. The prize includes a publishing contract with a $7,500 advance and a $5,000 marketing budget. Pretty nice. I guess winning the prize means that agents would … Continue reading

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Mavis Gallant’s agent was a crook

The reason Gallant was a starving writer in Spain was that payments for several stories in the New Yorker were kept by her agent, Jacques Chambrun. She wasn’t the only client he robbed. This entry in the New Yorker blog, … Continue reading

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Is anybody there?

Most of my experiences with literary magazines have not been positive. I understand that editors are swamped. I just wish they would come clean about their limitations. You’ve all heard an editor swear passionately that he or she or a … Continue reading

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Unsolicited submissions

I haven’t submitted a story to a literary magazine for at least a year. Yet I enter contests sponsored by those same magazines all the time. The reason is simple – I believe the odds are much higher that someone … Continue reading

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It’s good to be the winner

There seem to be a lot of fiction contests lately. I’m getting my new novel in shape to enter the James Jones Contest, and I have a well-travelled and oft-revised short story going out to Passages North and Pinch. Passages … Continue reading

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Abandon All Hope – Agents Advice to the Struggling Writer

I just read an interview with four literary agents that provided a useful if painful reality check.  It was published in Poets and Writers a few years ago, but I’m pretty sure the  points the agents made are still valid.  … Continue reading

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Pitching – the Aftermath

It’s done.  I went to New York and pitched my book.  It was a great experience, and I even found an editor who asked me to send her the first 50 pages.  It was also at times a sobering and … Continue reading

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The Elevator Pitch

I’m attending the New York Pitch conference this month, which will give me a chance to talk up my book to editors who are supposedly looking for new material.  I guess this will be kind of like a job interview, … Continue reading

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The Slug in Winter

Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD.  I hate those pseudo-medical names for conditions that should be left to poets and fiction writers.  The sun goes away in the winter and inertia takes over.  It’s not quite depression, but death is much … Continue reading

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Dog River

If you were an Egyptian general on your way to smite the Hittites you would have led your army up the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean through Lebanon.  This route had a major drawback, however, the Dog River, backed up … Continue reading

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