New Review of Night Glimmer plus Book Give Away

Laurie published a great review of Night Glimmer. You can read it here Review.

There is also an interview with me along with an excerpt from the book. You can sign up for a Book Give away too!

Would love to get your comments.



Creativity Junkie

“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.”

-Homer, the Odyssey

If you are reading this chances are you, like me are a Creativity Junkie. By this I mean we are addicted to our craft. Art and the act of creation is as important to us as the air we breath, the wine we drink, the food we eat. At times our craft can be all consuming and we know like we know our own hands that we could not live without it.

How else can you explain the fact that in the face of our worst disappointments: the bad reviews, the book rejections, the rehearsals that make you just want to die, the odd looks when people find out what we do, that even in the midst of this, we keep on working. We sacrifice our time, our money, sometimes even our relationships, all on the altar of Art.

It doesn’t matter what kind of creativity it is. It can be painting, photography, writing or music. It can be crafts. It can even be computer programming. In any of these we labor, in both senses of the word, to bring some new thing, some novelty into the world. It’s not really the end that matters, it’s the process. It’s how and what we feel while we are working.

But why?

The answer is simple. It’s right there in the opening lines of the Odyssey. Homer knew as all the poets do. We work our craft it because in this act, in opening ourselves to some inner well of creativity and imagination, we touch something transcendent, something divine. Through us the gods sing and we participate in their act of creation. We are more alive in this effort than in anything else we do. That reach where we touch the face of God is what keeps us going.

It’s not just the west that understands this. See this poem by the Zen Poet Basho.

“Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice”

The simplest act of nature is infused with the divine, waiting to awaken us to some transcendence that is yet right in front of us.

Philosophers know this too. In fact, Alfred North Whitehead thought the universe itself was made of creativity. It’s the stuff of the cosmos. The whole world, including our lives, is nothing but a process of novelty breaking into time. This is no more true than in our acts of bringing beauty and art into the world.

So next time you are discouraged, disheartened by some setback, remember this. That in the practice of your craft, no matter its form or outcome, you are participating in the very act of divine creation, of the gods coming back into the world.

Sing in me, Muse. What a rush.


As winter draws near, it is a perfect time for a bit of reflection on the winter solstice. In modern times, this day often goes by completely unnoticed. Most could not tell you the date of the solstice even if they know what the day means. We are so caught up in the other holidays that fall around this time of year, the solstice slips by like a owl at night, silent and unseen.

This is largely the result of our recent immunity from nature’s rhythms. Our homes with their thermostats keep us warm against the cold, electricity provides light even in the depths of night, our cars in most cases make the snow irrelevant. For most of us this time of the year only slightly affects our work and home life.

This was most assuredly not the case for our northern ancestors. For them the winter solstice was in many ways the most important of holidays. Winter for them was an all consuming affair. Keeping warm was a struggle. The days were short so time for work was reduced. If you were not well prepared, winter was not just an inconvenience, it could be deadly. For them winter was serious business.

Just imagine. The harvest has come and gone. The fields are bare and each day is now shorter than the one before. The nights are long and cold. Snow blankets the world. The rivers and creeks are frozen. Easy travel is now difficult and hard journeys impossible. Isolation becomes the norm.

The sun is low on the horizon. Its rays have lost their warmth and its light seems feeble against the advancing night. It seems as if the night and ice have vanquished the light giver all together. Will the world be plunged forever into the gloom? Will the fields never see green again? Will the game ever return?

Of course today these questions seem foolish to us. The sun has not changed, the Earth simply tilted and in its normal course around the sun, warm weather will return.

But to our ancestors without the benefit of modern astrophysics, these questions were terrifying. What if winter never ended?

But then as if by miracle a day came, a special day when the sun began to rise higher, a day that marked each day becoming longer. This day held the promise of Spring, when green would return to the world. Even though the nights were still long and cold, you knew that light and warmth would come back. That the fields would blossom again and the game would return.

So this day was celebrated. Fire was made against the darkness as if to remind it that its triumph was temporary. That light and life would push back the night and ice.

The promise of that special day made winter less menacing. It allowed our ancestors to see the hidden charms of winter, safe in the knowledge that Spring would come. Isolation did not lead to despair but to reflection, to a special bond with family and neighbors upon whom we both depended and assisted. The hardships of winter were but the birth pains of spring, preparing us for more life.

So solstice was a magical time. A time of reflection, of hope, and of promise. A time to celebrate life and light.

And even today, so removed from these cares, immune to winters hardships, somewhere in those forgotten backwaters of our subconscious we hear an quiet echo of that life. Against the long nights, as if by reflex, we bring special lights into our homes. We hang green and red, the colors of life, against the cold and dark. We light fires and make merry. All as if to laugh in the face of winter, to say to the cold and ice and darkness, I know you. I know you are temporary. We will see the green again.

So maybe we don’t know the holiday. Perhaps we don’t remember the date. But somewhere, deep inside, we remember.

So take consolation in the solstice. Make merry. Bring in the lights. Burn the yule log for the dark and cold even with its own charm, will give way to the green. Life always finds a way.

Gifts of Winter

Doesn’t the darkness make the lights all the more bright and the cold the fire all the more inviting?

The long flight home with strangers bundled up, the more intimate that hug at the door?

The message, “I’m on my way”, then the wait make that kiss all the more passionate?

The wrapping and the shuffling and the parking and the lines make that wrapping under that tree all the more glowing?

Those lone white stars against the black ribbon of night all the more serene?

For winter is separation and the study of patience but a secret joy brought in its good time.

The Natural of the Supernatural

From Witches and Vampires to Werewolves and Zombies, modern culture is infused with the supernatural. We see these foreboding characters in blockbuster movies, TV shows, as well as books (even mine). Consumer media today is saturated with supernatural themes. And now even advertising has a supernatural twist. Look at this ad/short movie from Mac.

The ad just brims with a supernatural aura.

So for me as a writer, the question becomes why do these themes resonate so much with an audience? What is it about these characters that compel and fascinate us with such vigor?

One partial answer at least from a literary perspective is that these characters and their stories touch a very old and forgotten place within us. Like peering through a window of a long abandoned, moss bound house, they offer us a glimpse of a world beyond our antiseptic, organized, and conveniently automated existence.

These creatures inhabit a world brimming with the unknown. They are mysterious, unscientific, chaotic. They live in a world driven by passion. Not the passion of the petty thief or greedy banker but the wild and intimate passions of hunger and thirst. Through them we remember some inexplicable connection to the natural world with its unfathomable forces and invisible drives. Through them we can feel again that slight breeze of enchantment reminding us of a time when the world was more than just one big machine.

Their world of claws and fangs, of blood and spit, of shrieks and screams devours our ipads, bottled water and designer ringtones. These creatures don’t cut you off in traffic, take your parking place at the mall or disturb your evening trying to sell you water softeners; THEY EAT YOU ALIVE.

It’s no wonder that we flock to these movies and read these books. Our day to day black and white existence is no match for their riot of color. While we wait to get our drivers license, they are howling at the moon.

In the end compared to them, perhaps we are the inhuman ones.

Writing a novel is like having an affair

Writing a novel is a very intimate endeavor. It’s just like falling in love. There is that first rush of excitement when you get an initial glimmer of an idea. At first, things are uncertain but there is an underlying feeling of possibility, like the idea smiled at you for the first time. Nothing too settled at this point, but you know perhaps she has some interest.

If this infatuation/flirtation shows promise, the first bloom of a romance starts and seduction begins. You invest more time, she gives you more details. You begin to see the different sides of her personality, the initial shapes of the characters begin to take form. She calls you and the characters begin to emerge. The more she speaks, the more you want to hear and soon you are completely captivated.

With all reason thrown to the wind, the affair begins in earnest. Now you can think of nothing else. She and she alone is the subject of all your thoughts. The details of the plot emerge, the characters take on their specific traits. You feel the conflict that drives the novel’s pace.

She whispers to you, intimate details. You grow jealous of your time with her. Interruptions become almost painful. You drink your coffee thinking of her. You hear a song and it reminds you of a character. The plot runs over and over in your head. Scenarios are played out. The characters are now alive each with their own story. They clammer for your attention.

Everything now happens in secret. Your friends wonder whats going on, why are you so distracted. It’s impossible to explain, like you and the novel share some intimate, personal language that can’t be translated. You know, you just can’t say.

Sometimes the outpouring of passion becomes burdensome. You quarrel with her. You say you are not going to touch the keyboard for a week. You need rest, distance. But then that smile of an idea returns and like a moth drawn to the flame, your fingers caress the keyboard again sharing with that blank page some new turn to the plot, some new bit of dialogue.

Finally, as happens to all beautiful things, the affair will be over and the novel complete. You look back over the torturous path with a feeling of gratitude. As you then turn to the post affair work – editing, marketing, trying to find a place for it in the world, you remember with a bittersweet ache those first glimpses so alive with possibility and promise.

So yes, writing a novel is like having an affair with all the same ups and downs. Like love it can both fill you with indescribable joy as well as inconsolable sadness. It’s like nothing else in the world.