Posts Tagged 'Greg Herren'

The Allure of Romantic Suspense



“I have no past, I have no future. I have only the immediate present.”

–from Hunter’s Green, by Phyllis A. Whitney



I was about ten years old when I discovered what was then called romantic suspense, which was a subgenre of the mystery field primarily targeted The Orion Mask 300 DPIto women. The covers of the mass market paperback were very distinct; they usually featured a woman with long hair being blown about in the wind (sometimes in a very long dress) usually looking backward over her shoulder with a fearful expression on her face. There was usually an oddly-shaped, spooky looking tree behind her; a mysterious but attractive man even further in the background, and in the absolute rear of the image was, without fail, a spooky looking house with a light in one of the windows. These books were by women, for women, and about women.


“When my aunt Charlotte died suddenly many people believed that I had killed her and that if it had not been for Nurse Loman’s evidence at the inquest, the verdict would have been one of murder by some person or persons unknown; there would have been a probing into the dark secrets of the Queen’s House, and the truth would have come out.”

–from The Secret Woman, by Victoria Holt



My grandmother had a copy of Victoria Holt’s The Secret Woman, which I read one weekend while visiting her while the rest of the family watched football games on television. The book was so well-written and well-done that I began reading every book by Victoria Holt I could get my hands on, and reading her led me to other women writers, all labelled ‘romantic suspense’ novelists. These other women included Phyllis A. Whitney and Mary Stewart, among others; but those three were by far and away the best.


“Carmel Lacy is the silliest woman I know, which is saying a good deal.”

–from Airs Above the Ground, by Mary Stewart


I’ve always been a big reader, devouring every book I could get my hands on. I also wanted to be a writer from the earliest time I can remember—and usually, when I found a genre I liked I wanted to write in that genre. My first attempts at writing were my own versions of the Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew type mysteries for kids; I think the first one I tried writing was called The Secret of the Haunted Mansion. (Not terribly original, of course, but I was only eight.) When I discovered romantic suspense, I wanted to write it as well. The majority of the books were written in the first person, always from a woman’s point of view, and certainly there was an element of romance in them. Victoria Holt’s novels were more patterned after Jane Eyre; the first half of the book was usually the life story of the heroine, before she found herself either married or involved somehow with a man whose affections she wasn’t sure of; in Menfreya in the Morning, Harriet was a wealthy heiress who was plain and had a clubfoot. Once she was married to the lord of Menfreya, she was never certain whether he really loved her or whether he married her for her money. Holt’s novels were also often set in Cornwall, and often in the nineteenth century.


“I often marveled after I went to Pendorric that one’s existence could change so swiftly, so devastatingly.”

–from Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt



I found myself preferring Whitney to Holt. Whitney’s books were often set in some foreign location (St. Croix, Cape Town, Norway, Istanbul, Athens) and Whitney always included a lot of local color and history in her books, which made them even more enjoyable to me. I often felt, though, that her heroines were a bit on the wimpy side, despite the adventures they were having. Her books often featured a strong woman who served as the antagonist to the heroine; sometimes being married to the heroine’s true love (Columbella, Lost Island, Woman Without a Past) and often, the story had to do with secrets from the past coming out to haunt the present (Listen for the Whisperer, Silverhill, Spindrift, Domino).


“It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it.”

From The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart


I never forgot these books or their authors; I often go back and reread them and marvel at how well they are plotted, the richness of the character development, and the strength of the first lines. I have always wanted to write one, to try my hand at romantic suspense and follow the basic template—another mystery writer explained it to me as “Two love interests; one a bad guy and the other a good guy. Which is which?” This is overly simplistic, of course, but when I started plotting The Orion Mask, it really came in handy.The Orion Mask 300 DPI


“Now that I have reached the mature age of twenty-seven I can look back on the fantastic adventure of my youth and can almost convince myself that it did not happen as I believed it did then.”

–from On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt



Another popular theme in Whitney’s work—and one I sought to emulate in The Orion Maskwas reuniting of someone, practically a stranger, with a family they’d never known. The reason the heroine had been separated from her family always varied (in Silverhill, her mother had been banished from the family estate and cut-off; in Woman Without a Past she had been put up for adoption; in Listen for the Whisperer she had been given up by her mother and raised by her father; in Domino, her father removed her from her mother’s family) but the drama of someone coming back into a family group after years away was something I really wanted to explore.


So, I created Heath Brandon, a young gay man in his early twenties who is working full-time to put himself through college. When he was thirteen, he found out (by accident) that the woman he believed to be his mother was actually his father’s second wife; his mother had committed suicide when he was very young and his father took him away from Louisiana and his mother’s family. His mother’s family is wealthy, and so every once in a while he would fantasize about reuniting with them and getting help with school. He is at work one night when he is approached by someone who not only knows who he is but has a lot of information about Heath’s family back in Louisiana—and more information about his mother. Soon, Heath is on his way to Louisiana to meet the family he never knew…and discovers that there are a lot of secrets being kept in the family mansion.


And Heath learns the hard way to be careful what you wish for.


The Orion Mask 300 DPII had a lot of fun writing The Orion Mask, and I hope people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


by Connie Ward

Dark Feather - Toms Photo - Less Smoke

1.) What made you decide to become a fiction writer?

Back in the day when I was just becoming a youth worker, one of my fourteen-year-old clients began selling himself to older men on the streets. Despite all of my efforts to warn him of the dangers of his behavior, the boy contracted HIV. He came to me the day he was diagnosed and asked me to write a book for other gay kids on the subject. I was at first reluctant to tackle the subject, but five years later after he died of AIDS complications, I wrote a book based on his experience.


2.) What type of stories do you write? And why?

I normally write about at-risk behavior. This includes drug/alcohol abuse, teen suicide, and HIV and AIDS. I think kids who are given a chance to read about such subjects will make the right choice in regard to changing their behavior. It’s a way to reach them, sort of an “edutainment” approach. Although my books are action-packed, I lace the stories with a message.

3.) What do your family/friends think about your writing?


Most of my friends have the misconception that writing books is very profitable.


Family members, however, are well aware that the difference between an author and a large pizza is, a large pizza can feed a family of four (meaning an author cannot).


I once joked with a friend and told him if someone ever kidnapped me and held me as a hostage, they would be sadly disappointed. There wouldn’t be money to pay the ransom!

4.) Where do you get your ideas?


I have been fortunate to have stumbled upon most of my stories. My work as a consultant for several agencies who spread AIDS awareness puts me in touch with some interesting characters. I feel that, after having an emotional attachment to most of my subjects, I can plant a seed. It might take a month or even a year, but when a story starts knocking around inside my head, I have to write it down.


5.) How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?

I usually dwell on an idea for several weeks, then sit down and write the first scene, keeping it tight with plenty of action to grab the reader’s attention. (God forbid that I ever write a boring book). I then look in the distance to see where the story might be going. I write an outline, very sketchy, because it changes. But once I have an outline, I try to keep the story in the perimeter of this. Most stories are character-driven, and I simply report what I see them doing. Images come to me like a movie inside my head. I simply write what I see. Intricate plots give me fits, but once I see one clearly, I am set to go. However, I have ADHD, and therefore I “hyper-focus” on each book I write. The thing is, I work on three or four projects at once. It keeps things moving.


6.) What makes The Fall of a Gay King special to you?

I really wish I could elaborate here, but since this story is based more on fact than fiction, I am not sure how much I can reveal here about the actual conspiracy. My source for the story was stalked and threatened with a lawsuit in regard to what he revealed to me. Some players are still in play, and I need to remain as discreet as possible when it comes to giving too much away.The Fall of the Gay King 300 DPI


I believe that the events in the story take place not only in America, but in most major cities throughout the world. The subject matter is swept under the carpet and kept very secret, yet the millions involved in the practice have been active from the dawn of civilization. I am not saying whether it is right or wrong, but I try to convey the facts so that others can form their own opinion on the subject, for better or worse.


7.) How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?

My main character is an author who, because of the story sent his way, has to act more like an investigative journalist. I would like the title of “investigative” added to my resume, but in truth, I am just a simple author. However, much like Logan, I do extensive research before I start work on any book. I once read fifty books on the subject of HIV/AIDS before writing my one book. It went on to sell 15,000 copies, so all the research paid off.


And unlike Logan, who, at the end of the story, ends up financially set, that is pure fiction when it comes to my real life.

8.) Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite of this author(s)?


Yes, I was honored to have Greg Herren edit my book. I first read one of his stories in the My First Time series. It was a sex scene and I learned a lot about writing one from reading his story. I have also read several of his other mystery books involving his gay private investigator. Greg is a great writer. Also, I admire Randy Shilts of The Band Played On. His book about the AIDS epidemic was incredible.

9.) Do you have any suggestions for new writers?

Yes, one word of advice: if you want to write a book, plant your ass in a chair and write!



10.) When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?


I do a lot of walking. I walk my dog each day, and when I am done with her walk, I take one of my own. I live only a mile from the country, and so I often take to the bike trail, where I have a great view of the open countryside. It helps me think, which leads me right back to writing.


When I really want to cut myself off from not thinking about stories or plots, I fire up the computer and throw myself into a Multiplayer online game, although I totally suck at Call of Duty!

The Long and the Short of it

By Nathan Burgoine

The other day I was on the phone with my mother and I told her that LightLight  300 DPI would be out in October.

“Is this a real book, or another short story thing?”

I opened my mouth to reply, and stalled a bit. There was no good answer to that question. Short story collections are real books. Light isn’t a short story “thing.”

I went with, “Light’s my novel.”

I’m still not entirely sure how this happened. The novel, I mean, not the conversation with my mother.

I write short stories. I’ve done so for ages, and in the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to be published in quite a few anthologies. When the last couple of anthologies released, I tipped over into the two-dozen mark, which makes explaining my publishing history – and the writing of the dreaded author bio – easier. “I’ve written dozens of short stories.” See? Economy of words.

Short stories and novels are very different animals, and I was absolutely enjoying raising and releasing short stories. I’m a huge advocate for short fiction, and I’ve even being doing a project this year where I read and discuss a short story a day on my blog.

So how did the short story writer end up writing a novel?

Blame Greg Herren. I’m pretty sure Light is his fault.

That’s probably not entirely true. (But it’s partially true.) The rest of the truth – let’s say it was seventy percent of the truth, because that’s a nice number but I don’t want to give Greg anything less than thirty percent of the credit – is that I started to bump into short stories that wouldn’t work.

That was a new experience for me. Usually, my process with short fiction is fairly smooth. Generally, I see a call for submissions, and my mind snags on some part of the theme. The idea sort of percolates while I’m going about my day-job and the rest of my  life, and finally it combines with another random moment – a line, a character idea, a setting, the conclusion, or some other piece – and the story begins to flow. I write a draft, walk away, come back and re-write what didn’t work, and then look down at the word count and either breathe a sigh of relief (I’m within the guidelines) or take a hatchet to it (I’m over the guidelines).

Somewhere after the first dozen short stories or so, something started to go wrong. I’d get frustrated at trying to “make everything fit” into the story I was working on. There was a mystery I was really trying to write for J.M. Redmann and Greg Herren’s Men of the Mean Streets called “Silver and Blue” and no matter what I tried to do to make it work, it got too long and the word count would double the limit before I got to where I needed to go. I got frustrated, put the story aside, and worked on something else instead. “Keeping the Faith” – the story that I eventually submitted – is a story that made me very proud and I was very happy with it (especially once the editors took the rough diamond and polished the heck out of it). “Silver and Blue” stayed in a file folder.

It happened again. And then again. One of those occasions was all the more baffling because I’d already used the characters in three short stories beforehand. Luc, Curtis, and Anders – the vampire, wizard, and demon from my “Triad” stories in Blood Sacraments, Erotica Exotica, and Wings respectively – were usually such team players. They worked well for me. So why were they suddenly giving me trouble? Again, that story – “Outfoxed” – ended up in a folder. Instead I told a story around a character that I had wanted to include in “Outfoxed” before it grew too overwhelming and unmanageable. “Necessary Evils” found a home where “Outfoxed” wouldn’t have worked, in the Raising Hell anthology.

It was one visit to New Orleans for the Saints and Sinners  Literary Festival that Greg asked me outright: “When are you going to give me a novel?”

My reflex response – that I write short stories – earned me a patented Herren eyebrow raise, so I knew that wasn’t going to fly.

I found myself going back to those files of short stories that just wouldn’t work, and there was Kieran Quinn, waiting for me. Kieran had first appeared in a short story I’d intended to write for the heck of it rather than an open call for submissions – something I almost never do, since my writing time is tucked between work and the rare times I’m on my own, and I can never keep up with all the calls I see as it is. But Kieran was a goofy character – a gay telepathic and telekinetic fellow with a cat named Easter and a job at a spa – that had occurred to me in stages and hadn’t faded into the background. I’d wanted to write a story about him for a “100 words a day” project, and had bumped into the same problem I’d been having with some of my short stories.

There was too much to tell.

When I told Greg about Kieran Quinn and pitched my idea for his story, he said he’d like to see more. I wrote more. It took me a couple of years from those scratchy notes and bits and pieces that had been abandoned to the final product that just released, but I’m glad Kieran got to get out of his folder.

It’s an incredible feeling to hold your novel in your hands.

Light Arrival!

Light Arrival!

Short stories are wonderful, and they’re always going to be my preference, I think. They’re not “warm-ups” for novels, and they’re not somehow “lesser” – with the exception of word counts. A short story does something quite different from a novel, even though they both tell a tale. I’m not sure I can quantify the difference, but I do know – now at least – when I’m working on a short story, rather than a tale that should be something else.  In a very real sense, writing a novel has made me all the more comfortable in the short fiction process.

And as my husband pointed out, those other ideas – especially the one with Luc, Curtis, and Anders – might want to be novels, too.

He’s a really big fan of the Triad guys.

Since I finished Light, though, I’ve gone back to short fiction. The first few stories just flew from my brain. It’s been magical, and comfortable, and the sense of satisfaction and reward is so immediate and wonderful. Light took years. A short story can take days, sometimes, when the stars align just so. And finishing and submitting a piece of writing is a heady and enjoyable experience.


“What about the Triad? That could be a novel,” says my husband, when he sees me staring at the computer and deciding what to work on. “There’s no harm in writing an outline, is there?”

There wasn’t. I did. Then I wrote another short story, then two. After, I re-opened that outline and started scribbling ideas in the margins.

My husband just smiles and makes me a cup of tea.

I’m pretty sure I know who to blame for the next novel.

Editors are Murderers

By Russ Gregory


There’s a sort of push-pull, dance-to-the-death between writers and editors that rarely breaks out in actual physical violence but none-the-less leaves emotional scars. I’m not referring to disagreements over the placement of a comma or the appropriate use of passive voice. I’m talking about flat out murder… the killing of darlings.


As my editor Greg Herren explains it…


As painful as it is, sometimes a writer will write an extremely beautiful sentence–it just sings and is clever and wonderful and—just doesn’t really fit in the narrative. In fact, it jars the reader out of what they are reading. I call it ‘author intrusion’–“see how beautifully I can write?” 

There’s nothing wrong with using language beautifully, or creating lovely images with words. But it has to fit with the sentences and paragraphs before and after, otherwise it interrupts the flow–and you don’t want that.


Oh but Greg you are so wrong – that’s exactly what I want. I want my readers to be jarred out of their complacency by the sheer elegance and beauty of my words. I want them to see my oh-so-heavy hand as I craft another glorious phrase and take flight on another visual bunny trail, with my sentences painting pictures in their minds even when if their focus is pulled away from the story.

I want them to say, “Wow, that’s cool… who is this guy? I wish I could write like that. I’m going to print this saying on a T-shirt. I’m going to tattoo this phrase on my buttocks. I’m going chisel this slogan on my headstone. I’m going to run naked through the streets screaming these words …”

OK, maybe not that run through the streets thing, but you catch my drift. I want to be the one that brings universal truth to light in a series of witty, elegant and thought provoking expressions.

Or at least part of me wants to be that guy. The other part wants a readable and well-designed story.

Still, when I spend three weeks writing and re-writing the same sentence – struggling over word choice and placement and syntax and rhythm, turning over options for hours and hours until late one night, I wake from a fitful sleep and bound from my bed shedding sheets like the skin of a serpent, tripping over my backpack and nearly impaling my face on a bedside lamp, just so I can make it to my computer before the perfect slogan escapes my sleep-addled brain, and then I smile and do a little happy dance and pat myself on the back because the words are too beautiful, and the world is too beautiful, and I’m too beautiful, to hold in all that beauty – it’s a little difficult to see it deleted from the manuscript on the first editing pass.

This probably explains why writers drink heavily.

When I send off a manuscript and get back the edited copy, the first thing I do, after pouring myself a stiff drink of course, is hunt out my darlings. I hold my breath until I locate the sweeties and if they’re gone, after pouring myself another drink, I pout, and curse, and stomp around the room threatening to call my publisher, or my agent, or my mother (because no one wants to hear from my mother). After another drink, I realize that maybe the world will not end at this affront to the literary cannon and, after another drink, I don’t seem to care as much because now I’m passed-out on the sofa, or yelling “Ralph” into the thunder-mug, or trying to pick up the mailman. (“Hey big boy, you sure look good in blue…”)

That’s how I handle it; other authors may have different methods.

The thing is, it hurts. It hurts like a good whack in the testicles or giving birth to a bigheaded baby.

I want my darlings left alone. The thought of them disappearing into the universal editorial maw is agonizing. My pretty words obliterated, after all that fretting and lost sleep, and, well, dancing. Seriously, I’d rather donate a kidney to a to a gun lobbyist.

Once I struggled over a single word for nearly a month and a half. I just couldn’t get it right. One early option was ‘surreal’, but that didn’t sing to me. Later, it morphed into ‘cubist’, but again not quite the right sentiment. I finally landed on ‘Picassoesque’. Even writing it now gives me goose bumps. Lovely sound isn’t it? It was lovely in context too. I fell for that word. I sang songs to that word. If I could, I would have dated that word all through high school and taken it to the senior prom.

So you can imagine my horror when the manuscript came back sans my darling ‘Picassoesque’. I sunk into a funk so deep even copious amounts of self-flagellation couldn’t pull me out of my doldrums. I was devastated.

Now some of you may be asking yourself what’s all the fuss over one little word. But ponder this if you will. What if Edward Bulwer-Lytton had written, “The pen is mightier than the butter-knife”, or John Donne had coined the phrase, “No ham is a island.” or Dorothy had muttered, ‘There’s no place like Akron” – see, one little word does make a difference.

So for all the killer editors out there, and you know who you are, this rant is for you. Authors can be spiteful and petty and as a class we are not above peeing on the petunias. So please tread lightly when you murder our darlings (or someone might just make a late night run through your garden.)


I Know It When I See It

by Greg Herren

I was on a mystery writer’s panel once at a literary festival, and the panel was asked, how do you create a character? Where do you start?

            The other panelists—all accomplished, successful, award-winning mystery authors—gave really good answers; things I’d heard before, advice I’d been given before, and I nodded as each of my fellow panelists explained their process of character creation.

And then it was my turn.

I looked out into the audience—it was an older audience, all dressed very well, and they were extremely conservative looking, if you know what I mean—and cleared my throat. “I decide what kind of sex life they have—you know, what they do in the bedroom and how they feel about sex, because that directly influences every other aspect of who they are as people. If someone is incredibly sexually repressed, that shows up not only in their interactions with other people but also in how they dress, how they view the world, and it shapes who they are more so than any other part of their personality.”

I was shocked to see people in the audience nodding, and the moderator, a mystery writer whose work I respect, said, “You’re absolutely right, but I would have never in a million years thought of that.”

Sometimes, being a pornographer comes in handy.

My first fiction publication was, actually, an erotic short story—and so was my second.

I had never once, in all of my dreams of becoming a published author, ever considered writing erotica—and in all honesty, writing that first story was incredibly difficult for me. I kept getting embarrassed as I wrote, and would have to stop. It was a constant struggle for me until I finished the damned thing. I don’t know how many times I told myself I just can’t do this and almost stopped. Yet I persevered—the story was for an erotica anthology called Men for All Seasons, and when I finally managed to finish writing it, I also submitted it to Men magazine. The anthology editor bought it—and the very next day the editor of Men emailed me and offered to buy the story. Flush with excitement at another possible sale, I responded, I’ve already sold the story elsewhere; but I have another I can rewrite and send you on Monday, if that’s okay? (It was a Friday afternoon.) He responded with an affirmative, and I spent the weekend writing my second erotica story.

Late Monday afternoon he bought the story.

And that’s how I became a pornographer.

Sometimes I write pornography and sometimes I write erotica; unlike Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who famously said about obscenity and pornography, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it,” I actually can define pornography—and there is a significant difference between pornography and erotica, at least in the world of fiction.

To me, pornography is writing about sex itself; the characters really don’t matter, the setting doesn’t matter, and there really is no story. Two men (or two women) meet, are attracted to each other, have some blistering hot sex, and then go their merry ways. We don’t know anything more about them than we did when we first met them.

Erotica, on the other hand, is about the characters; and needs to actually tell a story. Erotic fiction, to me, has to meet the standards of fiction—there has to be a change of some sort in the main character by the end of the story; the sex itself needs to be revelatory to the character in some way. (When I teach workshops, I say “If you can change the sex scene in your story to nothing more than and then they fucked, and the story still works, then it’s erotica.”)

An example of this differential is my story “The Porn King and I,” originally published in 2002. In this story, my main character (who is nameless) goes into the Tower Video store on Decatur Street in the French Quarter and sees a poster of a lazingly hot gay porn star. He rents the video and takes it home to watch. As he is watching, there are three sex scenes unfolding: the one in the video itself, the one in his head where he is imagining himself having sex with the porn star, and his own actual masturbation. The only thing we learn about him is that he has a thing for the porn star and lives in the Quarter. He doesn’t change from beginning to end, and if you remove the sex scenes from the story, there is no story.

Conversely, my story “The Sound of a Soul Crying” is erotica because I can change the sex scene to and then they fucked and the story still works. The story is about an empath, who is awakened in the middle of the night by another man’s emotional pain. And as the story unfolds, we learn that the empath himself is lonely; his gift has rendered him unable to connect with another man. Yet he continues to feel, and sense, the other man’s pain—until they actually do have sex with each other, but in their minds. They aren’t together. The sex heals the other man, and they encounter each other in person in a French Quarter club. They’re drawn to each other, having seen the other in what they thought were dreams, and so they begin the process of getting to know each other. That story was erotica; the sex was important but incidental to the story itself.

There are exceptions, of course—I’ve read some erotica that was nothing but lush, smoking hot sex from the very first word to the last. And of course there are similarities between the two forms; the line between porn and erotica is frequently blurred, and really, that line is subjective—everyone defines it their own way.

I guess I know it when I write it.

What Are Your Priorities?

by Greg Herren

I don’t know how many times people have said the following to me, but if I  w as given a quarter each and every time, I’d be living on an island sipping a cocktail right now: “I would write if I only had the time.”

Ah, time. I personally am frequently amused by the excuses I will think up not to sit in front of the computer and do my work. “I can’t write with dirty dishes in the sink. I can’t write when I have all this laundry to do. I can’t write with the house a mess. I can’t write when I have all these errands to run. I can’t write because I am just fried from everything I did today. I can’t write with Hezbollah bombing Israel. I can’t write while George Bush is in the White House.”

Pretty much any excuse will work, really. That’s the beauty of writing; we do it usually in the privacy of our home where no one is watching, no one is standing over our shoulder with whip in hand forcing us to do it. And if we don’t have the pressure of a deadline looming—and sometimes even then—all bets are off. (In fact, right now I am trying to think of a reason—any reason— not to write this column.)

But in order to publish, you have to write. Even if its crap. Even if it’s something that no one else will ever see. (Trust me, I have written a lot of stuff that no one will ever see. Ever. Under any circumstance.) Even when you don’t want to do it, you have to sit your ass down at the computer and open a new document and do the goddamned work.

If you want to be a writer, you have to look at it as a job. Whether it’s a part time job or a full time job, if you want to make it, if you want to get published, you need to view it that way. There are so many times you really have to force yourself to do it. Skip Desperate Housewives or whatever the big hit TV show of the moment is and turn on your computer and just do it. How many hours a week do you waste in front of your television set? Cancel two of your TV nights and spend the evening writing instead. There are any number of things you can probably give up to write.

The question is, do you want to?

How badly do you want to be published?

If you don’t want it bad enough to give something up in order to make it happen, then it’s very likely that you won’t. I wanted to be a writer for many years, but was too busy thinking up excuses not to take it seriously rather than coming up with reasons to write. And finally, one day I decided, “this is never going to happen unless I change the way I look at it.”

It stopped being a fantasy and became a reality.

Within a year I published my first story.

Take your writing seriously, and take yourself seriously as a writer.

It’s amazing what a difference that can make.

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