Category Archives: Writing

Too many facts

The book I’m working on now is set in Lebanon around the years 1990 – 2005.  This period encompasses the civil war, the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Hariri and the 2006 Israeli invasion.  I want to concentrate on my characters, … Continue reading

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Shall I compare myself to Hemingway?

Effective bragging seems like a necessary skill nowadays for  writers.   I have a friend who recently attended one of those publisher-writer events where you meet ten or so publishers’ representatives over two days and get maybe five minutes with each … Continue reading

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Oh, James Jones, you heartbreaker

Just got an email from Wilkes University, the people who administer the James Jones First Novel Contest.  It was an automated message generated by one of those submissions manager web sites.  It said the status of my submission had changed. … Continue reading

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It’s tough to be a woman

One of the two man characters in my new novel is a woman.  She is also a Shia Muslim whose family was massacred during the Lebanese Civil War when she was young.  To save her life, she pretended to be … Continue reading

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Missing the Mud – Part Une

I just got an email from an old friend, Santa Barbara poet and raconteur, Phil Stephens.  At one point, Phil and I spent a lot of time in Isla Vista California, the student ghetto attached to UC Santa Barbara.  Phil … Continue reading

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If it wasn’t for women making country music, country music wouldn’t have no balls at all

The news from back home is not always depressing. I read a piece in yesterday’s paper about a new female Country and Western group, Pistol Annies, and I felt like maybe there was hope for America after all, despite the … Continue reading

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Lost in France

Judith and I are currently residents at a writer/artist retreat in France, La Muse. We are in the mountains near Carcassonne, which contains a perfectly preserved walled medieval town within the confines of the modern city. The city is gorgeous … Continue reading

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I made the initial cut in the James Jones First Novel Contest.  The winner gets $10,000.  Surely winning would also get you an agent, if not a publisher.   Usually around 600 writers enter.  In addition to the top winner, there … Continue reading

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Two approaches to finding an agent

I have just read a wonderful piece in the Guardian on one of my favorite writers, Elif Batuman.  I learned that she never had to look for a literary agent.  She simply published an article about a Thai kick-boxer in the New Yorker, and the … Continue reading

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Who needs publishers?

Writer Matthew Swanson and illustrator Robbi Behr are doing just fine publishing their own stuff.  Presumably this means they have also dispensed with agents.  Now, the illustrated books that they turn out under the imprint of Idiot’s Press, with titles … Continue reading

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