So...Let's Talk About the Harlequinade's Life History in Publishing

A few people in the world have read some or all of my Harlequinade series. Many of those people are NY editors at Big 5 houses, and from most everyone who's read one or more of the books I have gotten seriously mixed signals. 

Let me catch you up. The Harlequinade series is set in a world where American professional theater meets urban fantasy/horror--kind of like Something Wicked This Way Comes had a love child with The Phantom of the Opera. It's a serious genre mashup with elements of horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, time travel, and literary science fiction. The first book in this series, Theater of Seduction, won an award at RT, landed me my awesome agent, and managed to bulldoze its way through numerous publishing departments only to be killed off after multiple reads. The feedback I did receive was a variant of the following:
Don't know where we'd shelve it.
Too intellectual. 
Needs more *insert whatever the last editor said to take out …

The Tragedy of George RR Martin--Discipline, Joy, and Speculative Fiction

Because I write speculative fiction, creating epic novels or series be they fantasy, sci fi, or paranormal is an advantage. Spec fic readers love to immerse themselves in a vast world capable of supporting huge plot arcs with hordes of characters to fall in love with and, in my worlds at least, grieve over after they suffer heinous deaths. That's the kind of interaction any writer craves for their readers. When I get hate mail for killing off favorite characters, I do a little happy dance around my desk. 
When readers get pissed enough to yell at me for killing off a character, that means I did my job right and I did it well. 
Because the readers were so emotionally invested in the story that they responded to that character's death with genuine feeling. 
The great thing about epic fiction is that you can kill off a lot of characters in a long, complex plot arc. 
But there are pitfalls, too. 
Sometimes, an epic plot arc can get away from a writer. I'm a very prolific…

The Happy Warrior

Our world is different different from the world we expected growing up. But one of the biggest differences is how our sense of community has changed. Once, our closest friends, our nearest and dearest, were people who lived in our hometowns, or worked at the same place, or went to the same school. Our acquaintanceships were local. But now, I find that everything is completely reversed. The only reason I know the neighbor's name on one side is because UPS delivered a package to my house by mistake last week. I'll probably have forgotten it here in a week or two. On the other side? I'm clueless.

But as a result, my community is now global. I know more about what my friend Scarlett in Scotland is doing than anyone who lives on my street. People with like minds and interests come together online, and in a remarkably short period of time are exchanging details about their lives, exchanging points of view, and creating close and palpable relationships with others they&#…

Baylor Rape Scandal for Blogcritics--Part Five

(This is the fifth article in a five part series analyzing athletes, universities, and crime. The primary focus of the series is the ongoing revelations from the rape scandal at Baylor University and was originally published at Blogcritics Magazine on February 4, 2017. I anticipate further articles will follow up this one.)

Welcome to NCAA: Fact or Fanatic, where we’ve reached the final installment of our analysis of athletes’ criminal behavior and the culpability that ensues. Once again, Texas attorney Kevin Lindstrom (who also writes for and Texas-based Laura Leigh Majer, special contributor to and Down and Dirty Sports, weigh in on the issues. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the fans’ part in the growing problem of student-athletes and crime, focused upon Baylor University and other schools with ongoing sexual assault issues.  One of the best places to gather information about how fans feel is The Paul Finebaum Show, a popular sports call-in show on t…

Baylor Rape Scandal for Blogcritics--Part Four

(This is the fourth article in a five part series analyzing athletes, universities, and crime. The primary focus of the series is the ongoing revelations from the rape scandal at Baylor University and was originally published at Blogcritics Magazine on January 12, 2017)
Welcome back to NCAA: Fact or Fanatic, where the season is over but the questions and problems remain. We’ve been taking a look at the staggering number of collegiate athletes who are committing crimes, and the universities’ responses. But there’s another entity we need to factor in here, and that’s the NCAA. How is it possible that the NCAA can cite a school for a violation because of a picture of the coach being too close to a recruit, but not weigh in at all on athletes committing crimes? For an example, let’s go back to Baylor. There isn’t a college football fan in the country who doesn’t know what went down at Baylor. New reports from women who were sexually assaulted continue to come out. The Pepper Hamilton report …