How to Build an Alien: Extremophiles

A few columns ago, I took you on a tour of the solar system in search of world building ideas. I hope you’ve had a chance to explore some of these ideas to create new worlds of your own, because this time on Speculations, we’re going to look at populating those imagined worlds. Just like… Read more »

Decluttering Your Author Social Media Accounts

As I entered the new year, I realized something terrible: my Twitter account is an utter mess. My home feed is filled with more strangers’ random life comments than relevant content, and my lists include several which I am included on, but are no longer active or timely. Sometimes I am alerted by Facebook that… Read more »

Four Ways to Protect Your Creative Brain

Last year, after reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work, I decided to start tracking my time. Specifically, I wanted to start tracking how many hours a day I was spending in what Newport calls a state of “Deep Work,” focused on one important, rather than urgent, task. However, I soon decided to take it a step… Read more »

Energy V. Time: Let The Battle Begin!

What makes your writing life productive? Maybe you’re following the advice to “write every day,” and you’re hitting a daily word count, but you’re not sure if it’s your best work. Or you eschew that advice and only write when you feel inspired, and then a great story pours out of you—but you wish you… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Vehicles for Showing Emotion

With so many books on the market (upwards of a million published each year), maintaining loyal readers continues to be a priority for authors. We not only need to get them reading our books, we’ve got to keep them reading—to the last page and onto whatever else we’ve written. Discussions abound on exactly what magical… Read more »

Top Awards for Crime Fiction Writers

It’s award season for crime fiction writers. In this piece, I’m going to discuss the national-level crime fiction awards, their selection process, and why being crowned “winner” may or may not be a big deal for writers and readers. Awards Sponsored by Genre Groups The Edgars The Edgar awards, named in honor of Edgar Allan… Read more »

Additional Reading on the Theme of Family

I always appreciate a great story about family. By that, I don’t mean I specifically search for books on this literary theme. Rather, when I read a book about family that resonates deeply or refreshes my perspective on the theme, I’m often thinking about that book for weeks, months, even years later. Maybe it’s because… Read more »