Endless Cups of Tea

Kameron Hurley has a great new post, “The Madhatter Teaparty: Rescuing Your Characters from Endless Cups of Tea,” about the problem of novels becoming too talky.cup-of-tea

Plot kicks my ass. It kicks my ass up one end of a story and down another, because honestly, all my characters want to do is snark at each other over tea. Or whisky. Or coffee. Or bug juice. Whatever. Any excuse for them to sit around flinging zingers at each other and discussing what they are going to do next works for me.

Snarking at each other — or perhaps politely teasing each other — over tea is about all my characters do (when they’re not being robbed by cross-dressing highwaymen or dueling with swords). In some novels, it’s literally all they do (see Rachel Cusk’s Outline). Jane Austen was criticized for exactly this. Even her publisher said that Emma “wants incident and romance, does it not?”

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New Writing

I wrote a piece on Native Californians and the environment for KCET's website. It's part of their Tending the Wild series. Very pleased about this, and thanks to Chris Clarke for asking me to do it. You can find it here. … [Continue reading]

Writing Fiction Ate My Nonfiction Brain


(So I only waited nine months to write my first post of the year — long story for another time.) I was writing an article for KCET.org recently when I realized that my brain doesn't work quite the way it used to. This should have been a return to … [Continue reading]

Tremontaine at the Midpoint

Tremontaine cover by Kathleen Jennings

(Spoiler warning: The following review gives away a couple of events in the first quarter of the series in order to establish character conflicts. Beyond that, you won’t find any big plot revelations.)  Tremontaine, Serial Box Publishing’s … [Continue reading]

Tremontaine: Go Read It

What the title says! If you saw my preview of Tremontaine, you know how much I love Ellen Kushner's Riverside universe. Nearly halfway through, this prequel series is everything I wanted it to be. You can sample the first episode or subscribe to … [Continue reading]

Desert Trilogy Releases Today!

My chapbook of three short stories set in the California desert is now available for your ereading devices. It's officially $2.99, but if you hurry, you might still get it at the $0.99 pre-order price. (It takes a while for Amazon and other retailers … [Continue reading]

Relationships, Place, Art, Careers

Highway outside Ocotillo CA

Recently I was part of a panel discussion on "The Man Behind the Woman" for the local chapter of the National Association of Career Women. The basic idea was three guys with less stellar careers than their wives talking about how we navigate this … [Continue reading]

Win a Free Book


To support the upcoming release of Desert Trilogy on Sunday, I'm giving away one lightly used, signed copy of my previous book, All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape. All you need to do to enter: go to this post on my new … [Continue reading]

Only Six Days Left to Get Desert Trilogy for Under a Buck

Desert Trilogy cover small

Desert Trilogy goes live in just six days, and I'm hoping you'll pre-order it before then. You'll get it for just $0.99, and the book will get a bump in sales on the official on-sale date. Win-win! Here's a little teaser to get you to plunk down … [Continue reading]

It’s Queer Romance Month!


It's October 30th, and I just found out October is Queer Romance Month. Why queer romance, you ask? For one thing, maybe if novels like this had existed when I was a kid, my own struggles with sexuality and gender expression might have been a … [Continue reading]

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