Just another writer

  • Mass in small-town Pennsylvania

    Mass in small-town Pennsylvania

    I’m always a little trepidatious about attending Mass when I get outside of my liberal Chicago suburb. I opted against going while in the Wisconsin Dells when, checking for Mass times on the local parish’s website, I came across a posting from the pastor arguing that Pope Francis wasn’t really Catholic. But I also don’t…

  • Writerly resolutions: June status

    Writerly resolutions: June status

    My big thing this month, by far would be writer camp. I spent the last few days of the month in central Pennsylvania, mostly writing, although some reading, some talking with other writerly folks. A rather deep questioning about the novel, and whether I even have the right to write it (I think I do,…

  • Writerly resolutions: a late May status

    Writerly resolutions: a late May status

    Somehow I managed to miss that I never did the May status post. Querying continues with disappointing results. I’ve finished a first draft of a new story. Still revising poems (and tossing a few into the trash heap). My submittable is down to seven entries.

  • Thoughts on the slow-moving Church

    Thoughts on the slow-moving Church

    Back in the 90s, my response to people saying that we needed to have married priests and women priests in the Catholic Church to respond to the priest shortage was to say that I didn’t think that was what the Holy Spirit was calling the Church to do (which is not to say that these…

  • “A story with a happy ending”: The story behind the story

    “A story with a happy ending”: The story behind the story

    My newest publication, an excerpt from the novel I’m querying, was published in Nebo under the title, “A story with a happy ending.” This excerpt comes from late in the book as I start wrapping up characters’ stories and focuses on Adam Cushman, an American Jewish soldier after his return to the U.S. from his army…

  • Writerly resolutions: April status

    Writerly resolutions: April status

    The querying continues with still more rejections. I’ve ended up revisiting the query letter and finding it wanting I’ve rewritten it for the May round of queries. Hopefully this will turn things around. I’ve managed to get my groove back with new writing. I had abandoned the word-count goal I’d used previously and it turns…

  • Names in fiction

    Names in fiction

    There was an article on NPR recently that cited a study showing that scientists with anglo names are more likely to be cited in news stories. My sense is that I tend to go with Slavic or Italian names for most of my characters, but I decided to dig a bit deeper and see what…

  • Writerly resolutions: March status

    Writerly resolutions: March status

    The novel is finished and I’ve started the querying process with the first round of ten queries, including my first rejection from a query. I guess my depression is catching up with me a bit here. While going through old queries, I found myself wondering whether what I thought were personalized queries saying close but…

  • 2024 Tournament of Books: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store vs Blackouts/The Bee Sting

    2024 Tournament of Books: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store vs Blackouts/The Bee Sting

    And the final match-up of the Tournament of Books. I used to think that the judgments and reviews were done in real time, judges in later rounds furiously working their way through the books to be sure they were able and hoping that the book they’d left at the bottom of the stack of potential…