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The Abverb Liberation Front?

Adverbs: Hate Speech Tolerated
I remember learning about adverbs in school.

Today, that prompts one of two questions. "Just how the Hell old are you, anyway?" or "What's an adverb?"

I'm old enough to know what an adverb is, and that's any word that ends in "ly." (It's more complicated than that, but there is no room for nuance.)

Adverbs are the criminals of prose. Real writers roam the streets with torches and pitchforks shouting, "Death to adverbs and the writers who use them!" Stephen King alone has killed millions. (Far fewer writers.) Editors pretend hunting down and executing all your adverbs is a wearisome task. Secret- er, possessed of a motive to hide the truth, they love the job. They keep score, you know, and boast of their kills on their private message boards. They stencil little "A's" on their desks for all I know and strive to become ace editors.

The Rules of Good Writing
Nearly every article ever writt…

More 5-Star Reviews for Judging Angels!

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JUDGING ANGELS picked up a couple more Five Star reviews at Amazon when I wasn’t looking for an unbroken string of 23.

Thought About Your Style Lately?

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Have You Thought About Your Style Lately?
Over at the other blog, St. Corbinian's Bear (who some people - and one Bear - claim is the actual author of Judging Angels) a comment about Walker Percy turned into a discussion of style.
Whether the Bear is right or wrong is not what I want to talk about, though. Far be it from some hack paperback writer to criticize Walker Percy, anyway.
It made me think about my own style for the first time, though. So, I flipped through Judging Angels with that in mind.
I noticed how I tell my story generally from the point of view of a scene's focus character, but usually revealing his state of mind, not what is actually in his mind.
I also noticed how slowly I dribble out exposition, keeping the reader in the dark or even misled. I set up familiar tropes only to defeat expectations. I use that to set the tone and rhythm. It also keeps the reader guessing throughout the entire novel and rewards her with many twists along the way.
Finally, I seem …

Judging Angels Book 2 and "The Minuteman Act"

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I think I'm getting this whole novel-writing thing down at last. I am very pleased with Judging Angels, but less so with the process that got me there. It was wasteful because I like to write more than I like to think.
I ran into the same problem with the sequel. It was far too ambitious. I realized it was two novels combined into one overlong one. So, I split them by their settings and have returned to the more straightforward telling that served me well in the original Judging Angels.
Now, I have two much better novels, and I don't feel like I'm bogged down in a land war in Asia (on this 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride). I still have as much to say, but I'm not going to say it all in one book. 
It would not make sense to deal with the same themes in the sequel as I did with the first book. I promise there will be a new slice of the moral universe to explore from a traditional Western perspective. There will be some characters from the first book, but also som…

If Writers Were Plants, I would be Kudzu

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I don't know why I should find myself wondering why I have so much to learn after one published novel. After all, after my first murder trial, I still had a lot to learn. I never stopped learning as a lawyer.
Don't get me wrong, I would never have consented to the publication of something I wasn't proud of.
But what I am learning is that I write very inefficiently. I like big. I like complicated.
Too big, too complicated. (Even at 500 pages, Judging Angels is much less big and complicated than originally conceived and executed, but apparently works.) If I've learned one thing, it's don't make things harder on yourself than necessary as a writer. It's tough enough as it is.
If writers were plants, I would be kudzu.
So, I'm splitting the too-long sequel into two novels, each with slightly overlapping story lines, and each focusing on one setting. The whole parallel plots between two vastly different settings is too complex to make work, I have realized. …

Two Brand New 5-Star Judging Angels Reviews for 20!

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I could not be happier to see TWO more nice five-star reviews tonight from readers who have been entertained by my genre-bending first novel Judging Angels! Of course, reaching 20 unbroken 5-star reviews is a nice little milestone for any first-time author, but it's more than that. Honestly, I think I took a lot of risks to give people something very different. Everybody seems to agree the risks paid off in something they didn't expect but sucked them in as a thought-provoking page-turner. I am so happy that people are losing themselves in the long and twisty tale of George Able and his plucky family.

Come for the smokin' guns and redheads, stay for the amateur casuistry, Thomistic table arguments, and mordant humor!