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Attention, biblio-nauts! I’m kicking off a promotion for one of my recent novels.

Starting tomorrow (Friday, April 5), you can get a free copy of Unraveling Time for your Kindle-reader.

No gimmicks. No strings. From April 5 through April 9, this book is entirely free. Go, get it, and keep it forever. It is literally yours for the taking!

(Remember, you can read Kindle books on your PC, your Mac, your iPad, your iPhone, your Android phone or tablet…anywhere!)

Still not sure? Read an excerpt of the book right here on this blog! What can you lose (except a weekend spent with a good book)?

Want to know more? Want to know what it’s about? (more…)

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Stack of BooksThere are some things I cannot do and will never be able to do. I will execute a perfect entrechat huit. I will never date Morena Baccarin. I will never be the conductor of a world-famous symphonic orchestra. I will never eat balut. The items on this list are there due to my physical limitations, my not having enough talent or time to achieve the goal, or my strong desire to not ever do such a stupid thing. (You can figure out which goes with which.)

There are other things I cannot do and should be able to do. These are things that are not beyond my physical capabilities or mental acumen. These are things I want to do but simply, at this point in time, cannot.

Like cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg. (more…)

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Simple LivingIt’s pissing down rain in Seattle. The lecherous wind tugs and young women’s skirts as they tick-tock their high-heeled way to work, and the few who bothered with umbrellas wish they’d left them at home. The sky is locked down in gunmetal grey and the sun is a dim memory, consumed by the overhead drear. It’s already been a long work-week for me, having put in three days’ worth before the end of Day Two, and I haven’t slept well for worrying about my family, still roiling from our matriarch’s recent death.

And yet, inside, I’m sunny. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiWhat do readers really want?

We’ve been discussing this topic over on some FB threads. The complaint (from writers) is about what readers do not seem to want, i.e., originality. Or at least, they don’t want too much originality.

This isn’t meant as a diss or a put-down. It’s something that’s endemic to many entertainment industries (and do not doubt that publishing is an entertainment industry). Publishers want a sure thing to put their money behind, and readers want a sure thing for their hard-earned cash. Totally understandable.

Readers want something similar to what they already know they like, but they don’t want a complete re-hash of an old story. They want their tropes, their memes, but they also want a new spin, or perhaps a new element. Some genres are extremely hide-bound (detective novels and rom-com movies, for example), while others are more open to “variations on a theme” (e.g., steampunk).  (more…)

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Stack of BooksMy wife and I take walks around Seattle’s Green Lake. It’s one of the best parks in the city, and it’s beautiful at any time of the year. It’s a nice 3+ mile circuit, during which we’d talk about many things, quite often about my writing. My wife (my First Reader) is a great sounding-board for plot ideas, plot problems, character development ideas, etc.

When I sold my first book, our walks had a new topic: which of these lakefront houses would we buy when the money started rolling in?

It’s true. I so firmly believed in the future success of my books and my career as a writer that I was eyeing million-dollar properties. So, what the hell happened? Why didn’t Oprah’s Secret kick in? (more…)

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In prep for my next book project, I’m reading some authors whose styles I want to understand better. The first author on my list was Alice Hoffman, and my second is Julio Cortázar.

I turned to Cortázar primarily because of one story I read many years ago. “Axolotl” was a story of such unusual structure and style that it has stuck with me for decades, after only a single reading. This alone is enough do draw me back to it, in this preliminary phase, but its structure also has something I’ve been thinking about for the structure of my next book: shifting POV.

Cortázar’s prose and style is impossible to nail down. Each story in this so different from the others. At times, I thought I found an overarching method, only to find something radically different in the next story. If there is anything that does pertain to all of Cortázar’s stories here, it is density. And by density, I don’t mean that his prose is opaque and hard to understand. To the contrary, his prose is clear, but full of detail, full of depth, and (harkening back to my one recent revelation) full of history and backstory. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiI know you’re all anxiously awaiting the “big reveal” on my full rewrite of “Cast in Stone”–he said, his words dripping with sarcasm–but that’s still a couple of days away. Meanwhile, I’m still working on the analysis task I set for myself.

If you’ll recall, as preparation for my next book, I’ve been analyzing the writing of some writers whose style I’d like to emulate. I’ve started with Alice Hoffman’s Blackbird House, a set of vignettes describing centuries of life around a single location. My goal was to understand how she is able, with extremely simple language, to create the feeling of lyricism and the mystical atmosphere that imbue so much of her work.

Let me warn you, though, before you take on a task like this. Just as most sausage-lovers don’t like to see sausage being made, doing a breakdown/ analysis/ desconstruction of a favorite author’s work can take some of the magic out of the reading experience. Suddenly, you’ll see the elements on every page, in every paragraph, and it may take some time before you can stop seeing those elements (if at all).

(more…)

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