New Feature: Monthly Short Stories

Hi Folks,

I want to announce a new feature here on The Granite Notebook : a monthly short story rotation. I realized the other day that I have written quite a bit of awesome short fiction over the years and need to give readers here the opportunity to see some of it. Soon, probably early next year, I will publish a short story collection that will include many of these stories, but they are being published here for the first time. So readers of The Granite Notebook get to see them before everybody else. :)

You can see the link now in the menu bar above, and you can Continue reading

Writers on Writing: Link

I hate to link to a “viral” type of website, but there is an amazing compendium of writers talking about writing here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/03/advice-on-writing/ 

It is well worth your time if you are at all interested in that sort of thing.

One that isn’t included in the above list is Robert Heinlein’s “5 Rules”, quoted and discussed on Dean Wesley Smith’s fascinating blog here: Heinlein’s 5 Rules

From the compendium first mentioned, one of my favorites is Neil Gaiman’s simple advice: Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing

Particularly interesting to me is Gaiman’s rule #5: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” Continue reading

Obscure Words are Obscure for a Reason

THE THESAURUS THE THESAURUS THE THESAURUS THE THESAURUS

Bane of undergraduate professors, godsend to honest writers, stumbling block of fools. Many have dared, many have tried, many have stamped themselves inadvertently with the ‘idiot tag’. Ye who seek to enter into its power, beware the seduction of the dark side!

THE THESAURUS THE THESAURUS THE THESAURUS THE THESAURUS

“You’re so smart, what big words you use!” is a sentiment that no intelligent, well educated human being has ever expressed sincerely. Continue reading

Why You Should Be a Writer

This little article can be thought of as a corollary or addendum to my article, “The Trouble With Lying“. It applies specifically to fiction or novel writing, and somewhat less specifically to non-fiction.


In “The Trouble With Lying” I talk about the self-publishing industry and contend, among other things, that most of the people trying to self-publish their books today should not be doing so. Please don’t construe this to mean that nobody out there should be self-publishing and “chasing the dream”, which is the same dream that I am chasing (although I don’t think of it in those terms, and believe the concept of ‘chasing the dream’ is part of the problem).

In fact, I think it is extremely important that people with something special to contribute as writers take up the long struggle to get their work recognized and into reader hands. Sometimes it isn’t even a long struggle, but history indicates that it usually is. Continue reading

The Trouble With Lying

Please note: I have thought long and hard before publishing this article. The old saying that you draw more flies with honey than with vinegar comes readily to mind. And also the one about how people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But because I am in a glass house I am in a particularly apt position to observe and write on this subject. This article, if coming from a successful writer, would sound as self-serving and insincere as some of the recent e-book sensations who say that everyone else can do it too. I am not yet a successful writer; in fact I occupy the same exact position as many of the people whose enthusiasm my words pour cold water upon. So if I am harsh to the self-published writer, it is only as harsh as I am to myself. And I make no apologies.


Last night I was reading about publishing, self-publishing, and indie publishing as part of a continual effort to crack the code of how to get my books in front of more reader eyes.

Inevitably, I came across a blog written by one of the breakout e-book success heroes, talking about how easy it is to make tons of money from self-publishing, how anyone can do it, and how everyone should. Or at least that is what was implied. It’s the same story everywhere, whether the writer or commentator involved has actually been successful or not. They almost always say that they have been successful, and that you can be too. Oh yeah, they’ve made a ton of money. All of them have! They work and work, churning the foam on the ocean of foolhardery that is the self-publishing gold rush.

The ones at the very top, like the blogger I was reading, who was one of Amazon Kindle’s early independent success stories and has been highly promoted by Amazon and the traditional publishing industry ever since, are positioned to benefit from the churn. Much like a pyramid scheme, everyone else involved want to benefit in the same way but have no genuine prospect of doing so.

We live in hope? Continue reading