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News & Events for C. Dennis Moore

FIRST APPEARANCE HAUL, #1

Posted 4/27/2017

A couple of months ago, I finished off my New Universe collection.  I've got the whole set and, while I know most people couldn't care less and think the New Universe sucked, it was, basically, my introduction to comics on a large scale as it was one of the first lines where I collected every title.  I got in about a year into the books, and kept with them until they ended a year and a half later, picking up back issues I'd missed whenever I found them, even multiple copies because I just dug the books so much.  But now I have the full run of all those titles.  So my question became what next?  The books I love most, Legion of Super Heroes, Justice League, Avengers ... sure, I could start collecting full runs of those, but holy crap those books are expensive and there's little chance I'd get them before I died.  Or ever!  Finally, a couple of weeks ago, it hit me.  First appearances.  This is a great way to meet new characters, find valuable comics, and get some incredible back issues.  I went right to my Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 1, and my Who's Who in the DC Universe Vol. 1, and started at the beginning.  Granted there were a few of those early characters whose first appearances I either couldn't find or couldn't afford right away.  But I'm pretty happy with the issues I got.  They came in the mail yesterday and I got to find them waiting for me when I got home from work last night.  Let's start with the one I was most excited about.  The first appearance of The Abomination, a Marvel character, and one of the chief Hulk villains:

Published in April 1967, this copy is rated a 4.0, which, if this is what's considered a 4.0, then I'm good.  It's obviously seen some hands over the years, but all the pages are intact and I can flip through it without fear.  Obviously, I won't be reading this copy, I'll read it digitally on Marvel Unlimited instead, but of course I had to take it out last night and look at it.  And that smell.  Man, there's nothing like the smell of real comics.

The book has two stories, "To Be Beaten by Byrrah", a Sub-Mariner story written by Stan Lee with art by Bill Everett (and featuring the first appearance of Byrrah, so I have a first appearance two-fer.  The second story, "The Abomination", written by Stan Lee with Gil Kane on art this time, is the reason I bought the book, and I sort of wish it had been featured on the cover instead.  Sure, that cover will come in handy when I get to Byrrah and already have his first appearance, but I bought the book for Abomination, dammit, and I'd like that to be reflected in the cover.  Sheesh.

Anyway, this book is in great condition, and for $12.75, what I paid for it, that's a hell of a deal for 1967 comic in this shape and featuring TWO first appearances.  I'm digging it.

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, is a DC book, Wonder Woman #297, featuring the first appearance of Nikos Aegeus.

I have no idea who this guy is; he didn't last long (his last appearance was in issue  #307), but I'll take a 1982 comic in this condition for $7.60.  Add in a first appearance, and that sounds like a good deal to me.  I could be wrong.  Until I read the issue, I won't know how much screen time he gets, what his impact on the story is, or even if he's a worthwhile character.  Then again, this exercise isn't to only get the worthwhile characters, that's subjective.  One man's Deadpool is another man's Cannonball.  I just want the first appearances, it gives me something to strive for.  And it's a good thing my goal is so clear here, because a lot of times, a new character will appear in one issue but not have anything to do until a later issue and THAT, by rights, should be the important issue.  Not many people will remember Venom first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #298, because it was issue #300 when he really made his mark.

This story, "Thunder on the Wind", was written by Dan Mishkin, with art by Gene Colan.  You ask me, the Colan art is worth the $7.60  This is a thicker issue than most, at 48 pages.  That's thanks to the back-up stories, "Fate is the Killer" by Paul Kupperberg and Curt Swan (a Masters of the Universe story, of all things!), and "Go Save the World", a Huntress story by Joey Cavalieri and Joe Staton.  Fans of the Arrow TV show who don't read comics, this isn't your Huntress.  Don't worry, though; she's an awesome character no matter which version you're reading.

I'll get around to reading this issue eventually, and given the age and condition, I'll probably just read the print copy.

That's it for this week's First Appearance Comic Haul.  I've already put in an order for the first appearance of DC's Abel, and Marvel's 3-D Man.  Hopefully I'll have another one of these next week.

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SKETCHBOX: MAY

Posted 4/25/2017

The new SketchBox came yesterday.  Looks like a pretty good one and I'm anxious to see what my daughter does with it.  This month included:

General's Kimberly Watercolor pencils ($12.95): This month is all about watercolor pencils!  Draw and paint at the same time with these unique water-soluble colored pencils.  We found this set to have rich blendable colors.  Try blending color with your new derwent brush or draw directly into washes.  You can dip the pencils into water for intense color, or make your own "dry pencil palette" by sketching and then lifting color with the same water brush.

Derwent Graphic H2O Brush ($7.99): This waterbrush is ideal for plein-air painting.  It features a leak-proof design and is easy to clean with a simple squeeze of the barrel to flush out the tip.  It can be refilled with water or ink (like the ink from your march box) for use as a brush pen.  The synthetic nylon brush head can hold 10ml of fluid.

Stabilo point 88 -- Turquoise and Black ($0.95 each): The .4 mm pens feature water-based ink in vibrant colors, formulated to sustain a long cap-off time.  The long-wearing tip is encased in metal to extend the pen's life and make it suitable for use with rulers which makes it pair well with an upcoming month...

Faber-Castell Art Grip Watercolor Pencils ($1.91 each): To balance out your kimberly set and to give you another basis for comparison we included 3 art grip watercolor pencils by Faber-Castell.  We found these pencils to have heavy color and lay down great on already wet paper.

 

And this month's inspiration piece is by Jill Tuttle, who says:

Life can be busy and complicated.  My artwork celebrates the intricate, beautiful, and precious moments in life; when you slow down to enjoy each moment.  I am originally from Nova Scotia and now live in Alberta, working as a High School Creative Arts teacher; my dream job.  My goal as an educator is to instill a passion in my students to live creative lives.  I model this lifestyle through my own artwork, photography and Bollywood dance!  I am best known for my detailed drawings and paintings on wood panels.  I use subject matter such ornate Victorian furniture, combined with images pulled from nature such as butterflies, birds, flowers and foliage.  I usually combine my slow and deliberate cross-hatching pen marks with the addition of colorful watercolor or acrylic paint.  I am so excited about the direction my recent work has taken, and look forward everyday to my next artistic endeavor!

For more of Jill's work check out:

www.julltuttle.com

www.instagram.com/jilltuttleart

www.facebook.com/artbyjilltuttle

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MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS, APRIL 2017: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 2

Posted 4/24/2017

It's coming soon and you know you're excited!  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 opens in two weeks.  In honor of that, and because they're not stupid, Marvel filled their recent Marvel Collector Corps box with all kinds of Guardians goodies.  Well, that may be an overstatement.  There are a few Guardians items in this month's Guardians-themed box.  Here's what they sent:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 So we got this cool Rocket Funko Pop with baby Groot on his head figure.  It's cool.  I like that Rocket and Groot are both bobbleheads.

Next up this Star Lord Dorbz figure with the Milano.

The shirt is cool, with all new cast members like Mantis and ... I think that's Yondu, along with the rest of the team.

The zero issue of the new Secret Empire series with the Rocket and Groot variant cover.

And finally the patch and pin.  Yeah, there's wasn't a whole lot in this box.  But what there was had my grandson fascinated for quite a while Saturday morning when the mail came.

I'm excited for the next box--and the accompanying movie--coming in two months:

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SKETCHBOX, APRIL 2017

Posted 4/5/2017

Cretacolor --Oil based sketching pencils ($16.50)

This month is all about tinted sketching.

One of our favorite sketching sets, this oil based set is great to quickly,get down ideas on paper.  It's small size allows for easy travel and the range of colors allows you to express more than traditional graphite.  It's includes Nero black soft and x-soft, White, Sanguine, Sepia Light and Dark.

 

Fabriano EcoQua SketchBook ($5.00)

Made in Italy by Fabriano, these versatile notebooks contain multiple sheets of FSC-certified, chlorine-free, acid-free paper that is completely recyclable.  Perfect for sketching, it makes a great addition to this month's box.  It will also pair well with an upcoming box theme, so stay tuned.

 

KUM Single Sharpener [STAFF FAVORITE] ($2.35)

A rectangular, single-hole magnesium-alloy sharpener with dynamic torsion action tempered steel blade.

 

Prismacolor Scholar kneaded eraser ($2.15)

This pliable eraser can me molded and shaped to erase tiny specks or larger areas.  Excellent for highlighting and erasing precise areas.  Just knead the eraser to clean it.

 

Creatcolor Fine Art Gum Eraser ($2.00)

An excellent companion for artists who use dry media, the Createcolor Caramel Fine Art Gum Eraser erases cleanly, leaving absolutely no marks behind.

 

And this month's inspiration piece was provided by Tania Nunez, who says:

I'm an artist & textile surface designer based in NYC.  Most of my work is inspired by nature, animals and a repetitive patterns, my goal is to share and inspire others to have a connection with animals and nature through the artwork I create.  I teach art workshops in NYC, I love trying out new mediums and sketchbox gave me a perfect opportunity to do just that.

You can find out more about my artwork at: www.tanianunez.com

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LOOT CRATE MARCH: PRIMAL

Posted 3/30/2017

Did I mention Loot Crate came last week?  Well it did.  And my first thought when I opened the box was "Only two things???"  But I was wrong, luckily.  There were FOUR, the other two were just hidden under the first two.  I have to say, though, if THIS is what Loot Crate is going to become, I don't think I'll be continuing on.  You'll see.  The theme this month was Primal.  Here's the haul:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there was the exclusive 100% die cast metal X-men Logan figure.  It's okay, I guess.  But I've already got Marvel Collector Corps, so believe me, I have PLENTY of Wolverine/Logan figures already.

Then there was the exclusive Predator bottle opener.  It's alright.  I don't have a lot of use for a bottle opener, though.  But I suppose when I do, this will do the job just as well as anything else.

I also got a Loot Crate edition Jurassic World warning sign to zip tie to my fence.  I'm probably not gonna, though, so I'll have to find something else to do with this.

Finally, the shirt.  This exclusive Overwatch Winston Primal Rage T-Shirt.  I do like this, and have already worn it.

But is all this worth whatever it is I'm paying for Loot Crate?  I don't know about all that.  I'm really amassing quite a lot of random stuff I'll never have a use for (Breaking Bad apron, Harry Potter luggage tag?).  Maybe that's why they went the extra step and made it so the box could turn into this awesome little cardboard dinosaur that's been sitting on my desk for 5 days.  The cardboard dinosaur I'm most likely going to toss out the next time I empty the trash in my office.  Yawn.  Not the best crate guys.  Not even in the top 15 of crates I've received.  Next month maybe?  We'll see.

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"In the Presence of Loneliness", a free short story.

Posted 3/22/2017

 Wanna know how to get this story for free?  Easiest thing in the world, just click here and it's all yours.

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MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS: SUPERHERO SHOWDOWNS!

Posted 3/1/2017

Marvel Collector Corps came!  The theme this month was SHOWDOWNS.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   I got these cute mini-Dorbz of Captain America and the Red Skulll.  These awesome Pop! figures of Daredevil and Bullseye.  I got the first issue of the Inhumans Vs. X-men book--but, honestly i'm not all that interested, but i'm sure i'll read it when it hits Marvel Unlimited.  I love the vintage Spider-Man shirt, though.  And the patch and pin are pretty cool, too--even if that shold be Ant-Man facing Ultron, if we're going with comic book history, but whatever.  Next month should be good--and what timing!

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CONGRATULATIONS, SWEETPEA.

Posted 2/28/2017

My daughter and I were heading to the movies Sunday--to see GET OUT--when she mentioned there was a contest that day from 1-4 at the art museum, and she had a piece in it.  Cool, I said, we'll go see it after the movie.  When we got there, she was saying she didn't really want to go, barely expected to place, but we found this nice surprise instead:

   

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FEBRUARY'S LOOTCRATE

Posted 2/26/2017

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 My February LootCrate came the other day.  I'd love to tell you the theme of this month's box, as well as a description of everything that came in it, but I got no magazine with my box.  So I'll have to be vague.

First up, the Lego Wonder Woman and Invisible Jet, that did NOT come with instructions for the Jet.  I gave this to my daughter who had the Jet figured out in short order.

The TETRIS magnets are on my refrigerator, where all good magnets go.

The Batman "food container"--that's what it said on the box--is on my desk as I contemplate what to do with it.

The Power Rangers shirt I'm giving to my daughter's girlfriend.  She's a big Power Rangers fan, and I thought she'd appreciate it.

Last, the box transforms into this cute little cardboard robot that I have no idea what to do with.

And that's the February LootCrate.

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WRITER'S MANIFESTO

Posted 2/13/2017

A Manifesto:


What I stand for and want to accomplish as a writer:

There are 2 things I’ve always wanted to showcase in my work -- 1) writing as an art form, and 2) the case for “horror” as “literature”.
My love of horror goes back to the beginning and I’ve often felt it gets the short end of the genre stick. Horror is the poor man’s fantasy and science fiction. It’s the dull-witted step-son, the fat friend you have to bring along to the party because he’s got the car. And Hollywood isn’t helping. I want to show that horror doesn’t have to get by on the same old clichés and cheap scares, that it CAN be done in a mature, original way that elevates not only the story but the genre.

I believe--hope--that much of my past work, stories like “The Insanity Dance”, “The Room”, “Monday”, and even the science fiction story “Timesmiths” bears this out in the, what I hope was original, ways in which these stories were told.

I strive to continue this in seeking new and interesting ways to tell my stories--but also never to let the method overtake the story in importance. The story must always be the heart of the matter, and the method secondary.

I may also begin to further explore horror as an idea, seeking to better understand what it is that makes horror so appealing to its fans and maybe how better to capitalize on that appeal to help reach a larger audience.

Truly, all I ever wanted to be was a horror writer. I should try for nothing less than being the best horror writer I can be.


What I want to write about:

I want to write about relatable characters in relatable situations.

I think I have tried, from the beginning, to take everyday situations common to everyone and show them in a horror setting.

I want to write stories that are set in the world we know, that start with situations we’re all familiar with--taking out the trash (“Payroll Man’s Ordeal”), working (“Plaything”, “The Strange Thing that Happened at the SpinCycle Laundry”), driving home (“Biscuithead”)--before introducing the horror, whether supernatural or not--and it’s not always; sometimes the worst horrors are those we inflict on each other (“The Stand-In”).

But I want to write stories readers can identify with.

However, I can’t limit the settings to ones I’ve experienced--sometimes the familiar is character-driven as opposed to situational.

The mountain setting in “Coming Down the Mountain” isn’t something I expect a lot of people to have experienced, but hopefully the feeling Barrett has, of being the “odd man out”, trying to prove himself to Seamoon and Toomey, the “popular” kids in class, is. The same with “All Mother’s Children”. Not everyone is the worker-bee spawn of a monster, stranded in the middle of nowhere after a plane crash, but I think the sibling dynamic of the characters is definitely understandable to most readers.

I want to write stories that entertain.

I feel neither the need nor the desire to write lengthy dissertations on the human condition. Nor do I ever want to talk down to my readers, as if I feel the need to educate them.

I want to write stories they come to because they know they’ll be entertained, they know they’ll relate in some way to the characters or the setting or the situation.

But all of this is surface stuff. What is my goal?

I want to write stories familiar and relatable, I want to write stories that invite readers in, have them sit back and get comfortable, even leaning back in the chair because they’re just so at home--and then I want to kick the chair out from under them.

Because horror is my first love, horror fiction is my main focus--but that’s not to say I won’t step outside that box, frequently; everything serves the demands of the story first, not the genre. As long as I strive always to entertain, I think the rest will fall into place, whether it’s a short story, a comic book script, a poem, novel, horror, science fiction, or whatever I’m moved to write.

This is the whole purpose of writing within the realm of the familiar, to give the readers characters they know, characters that could be them, doing things they do on a daily basis.


How I plan to achieve my ultimate goal:

The work is first and foremost. A writer is nothing without the work to back him up. I’ll do my best to avoid the tired clichés--wherever possible--and to not talk down to my readers. I’ll try, always, to “elevate the story” as Sean Stubblefield said.

If I gain their trust in turning in quality work that is uniquely mine, and get them coming back for more, hopefully they will follow me even further.

With novels, serials, comics, and more, I plan to expand my brand and create a name synonymous with quality horror, and fiction in general, with pushing the boundaries and limits of what horror, and fiction, can do.

With this manifesto I dedicate myself to the task of showing writing as an art form and horror as literature.

I will write.

I will publish.

 

Process goals:
Write the stories. Polish the stories. Publish the stories.
Organize more collections of my work. And promote the hell out of them.
Publish comics.
Audiodramas.
Video game.
Movie adaptations.
Expand the reach of the newsletter.
Heart. Horror. Spectacle.


How I stay motivated to do the work:

One of the main things that hinders me in fiction is not trusting myself enough. More often than not, I’m afraid I won’t be able to write that compelling opening that grabs a reader, or I don’t trust my characters to be fully realized or to use believable dialogue. I don’t trust myself to write something readers want to read.

Why is that?

Lack of self-confidence. And I know those times when I have felt confident, I’ve had a tendency to become too confident, which comes across as cocky. And that’s not good for anybody. I need to find a balance.

Sometimes I rush into stories, I think. I may ponder them for days at a time before I start writing, but that’s only to get the beginning and end down in my head, so I know what I’m writing toward. But it’s always the middle that stops me.

I’ve never been one to outline--nor do I ever imagine being one to rely on outlines; part of what keeps the writing interesting for me is discovering the story as I go. But I don’t think taking a little more time in the planning would be such a bad thing. Having a little more understanding of the story may keep me from getting tied up with the “what next.” Or maybe I just try too hard to force the story because I want to get words on the page.

Setting deadlines for myself seems to help a lot, but I don’t to it often enough--never in fact, unless I realize a month into a first draft that I’m nowhere near finished.

I’m usually pretty good at estimating a story’s length once I’ve gotten a decent start on it, so setting realistic deadlines will, I believe, definitely help to keep me motivated and working. But also, not rushing into the story will, hopefully, prevent me from hitting that mid-story “what next” wall.

I also need to re-establish my editing routine. I don’t know where it’s gone, what’s happened to it, but I seem to have lost my focus in that area, too. I used to have methods, including shortening lines, deleting adverbs and forms of “to be”, but have, in recent years, apparently forgotten all of that.

Reliable first readers is also a must have. I’ll find reliable first readers and enlist their help. I’d like to include at least one or two non-writers in this group.


How I will use my work to inspire people and impact their sense of the world:

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that horror writers, no matter how depraved and rotten the things their imaginations come up with, are some of the most kind-hearted, giving, generous and loving people you’ll ever meet.

I would like to find a charity that means something (The Haven Foundation is looking really good, also the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, plus Scares That Care), and pledge a portion of everything I make from writing to it--or I could find several charities and tailor special projects for them.

To inspire and impact lives, I would like to do all of this under the guise of, specifically, a horror writer’s banner, so that not just one writer, who happens to write horror, is responsible, but the horror writing community.


How I will link myself and my work to a “larger social network”:

I’ve already taken some steps in this direction by featuring some of the writers I view as my peers on my website. There are more I want to highlight, but it shouldn’t stop there.
There are definitely writers I see as producing work that is most similar to mine, with a vision very close to my own.

I wouldn’t mind collaborating with some of them. I would also like to do some world building, maybe themed anthologies based on their stories, possibly some world sharing.
I wouldn’t mind seeing what kind of stories they came up with using Angel Hill as the setting.


My Brand:

If I go back and look at all the stories I’ve written, a number of themes pop up over and over.

There’s “identity”, where who the character is or isn’t is what drives the story. Examples would be “The Stand-In”, “Plaything”, and “Parliament of Jim”. Another recurring theme is the question of Heaven or Hell and the many different interpretations of such. Stories like “Camdigan”, “The Legend of Mr. Cairo”, “Angels of No Mercy” and “Like the Fruits of the Devil” explore the Heaven and Hell mythology in a number of very different ways.

Relationships are also a big one in my fiction, something like “Safe at Home” being the most obvious and personal.

While most of my identity fiction is rooted in my own questions about where I came from--I never knew my dad, nor anything about his side of the family until I was 27--and the Heaven/Hell stories help me to deal with fears I have about death, the relationship stories are mostly drawn from my own personal experience in how two people deal with each other--which usually comes out as “combative” on the page, especially when those two people are both stubborn and independent thinkers.

My “brand” is a sound mix of all these types of stories, wherein characters are dealing with questions of “Who am I?” “What happens when I die?” and “What’s this strange person doing in my house and why are they telling me what to do?”

On the other hand, I think I also provide an interesting mix of “what if’ stories as well. “What if a house was alive?”--“The Room” and “Renovation”. “What if you found a dead baby in the garbage?”--“Payroll Man’s Ordeal”. “What if Santa Claus ate the bad children?”--“Working for the Fat Man”.

So I don’t believe my “brand” is any one thing or another. I have my recurring themes, but I also think I shine most brightly when I’m not working in one of those areas, but am asking one of the more outrageous what ifs.

I do know that, in almost all of these stories, we’re dealing with everyday blue collar people who get up and go to work in the morning, who worry about bills, who watch TV at night and shuffle around in the morning until the coffee is ready. I try to write as often as possible about regular characters thrust into situations the average person doesn’t find themselves in every day, and then I like to see them prevail or fail, depending on their own strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t always end well for them, I know that.

One thing I know I want readers to expect coming into my work is not knowing what to expect. I try to mix it up as much as possible--even when dealing with so many recurring themes. I may write about the same few topics over and over, but I strive to always keep it fresh and unpredictable.


My Path:

Write. Polish. Publish.
Heart. Horror. Spectacle.

For the foreseeable future, the titles of the next 10 projects are written down and I’ll be working through them one at a time.

I’ll also go through the books I’ve already published and keep their front and back matter up to date, as well as updating all of the covers and experimenting with prices.


My Message:

I don’t know that I’ve ever included a social message in any of my work. I don’t think I’d know how to do it without sounding like I was preaching. Instead I try to focus simply on telling good stories and telling them well. If I had a message it would be only that the limits of what fiction and storytelling can do are nonexistent. There are so many ways to tell a story, so many ways to make the art work for us to inspire our own imaginations as well as our way of thinking, of doing away with these restrictions on what we think we can do when in reality we can do anything.

Writing is more a business now than an art form, and I don’t agree with that at all. Obviously a writer wants to make enough money to be able to write full-time. Because we’re greedy? No, because we’re not suited for anything else, and there’s no other job out there that fulfills us as human beings--and isn’t being fulfilled the point of living life? But I think in a lot of cases--even though few would admit it--the desire isn’t to write the best stories and further this art of fiction and storytelling, but to make money and be famous. The truth of the matter is there are very very VERY few writers who are household names. In relation to the number of authors on bookstore shelves, the writers the average person can list off the top of their head is a very small fraction of the total number of publishing authors. And most of those “lesser known” writers will always be in that position.

The chances of doing this with the end result of worldwide fame and millions of dollars is so slim as to be almost nonexistent. So we write because it’s what we were made to do, simple as that.


My Passion:

Telling the best story I can, in the most interesting way I can. My passion is in finding new ways to say something, new ways to look at situations or ways to phrase something. I love telling a familiar story in a way that hasn’t been done to death, for example “Birth Day” or “Family Name” or “When Jessica Went Home”--all vampire stories, but as unlike the regular vampire story as I could imagine.

My passion is in finding that spot in the story where the words come without any effort, where the conversation between characters carries the story. My passion is in the moment something I may have mentioned offhand early in the story comes into play in a big way at the end, when a minor, insignificant detail turns out to be the whole point on which the story rests, or when the story takes a huge turn and goes in a direction I didn’t anticipate, but one that feels wholly accurate.

My passion is in telling a story a reader thinks is one thing, only to reach the end and find out they weren’t even close (“When Jessica Went Home” I think does this very well).

My passion is in finding that story or that situation or that description or that sentence that makes my gut tighten and my heart flutter.

These are the stories I want to tell, and this is the work I want to do.

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