I divide my time between Nashua, NH, and the landscapes of my imagination. More often the latter.
Good morning, Joseph, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. What have you written?
I published several trade-technicals back in the 1980s, self-published some marketing neuroscience books, Reading Virtual Minds Volumes I-III, in the 2000s and 2010s, a collection of short stories, Tales Told 'Round Celestial Campfires, and a novel, Empty Sky, in the past few years. "Empty Sky" is currently out of print as I've learned a great deal about writing since I released it and am using my new learnings to improve the story-telling and -crafting. I've had my short stories, poetry and children's stories published in print magazines and online. I'm currently shopping another novel, The Augmented Man, around with agents and publishers. My short stories have been nominated for both Nebula and Pushcart.
What is your favorite genre to write?
Interesting question. My business card reads "Autobiography in the guise of fiction, fantasy,scifi, magic realism and other associated Dark Arts".
Tough one. Probably anything spicy.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee. But only if it's freshly ground from finely roasted beans. I apprenticed to a coffee broker once and it spoiled me.
Pizza or ice cream?
Pizza. I routinely make hand-made pizza (including the crust) for friends. Unless it's the ice-cream Susan makes by hand for dessert after we've had pizza.
Wine or beer?
Depends on what it's with, who I'm with and the type of day we've had, and I more often will have a glass of wine than a bottle of beer.
Where would you like to visit?
Ha. Anything off axis.
Another tough one. Depends on my mood and the genre. I've been playing Bach two-part inventions since my early teens and I still learn something new each time I sit down to play one. Buddy Holly, ELP, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, any heavy organ music (helped repair and rebuild pipe organs when I was a teenager), Buxtehude, Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff (thank goodness I have large hands!), Michael Hedges, Willie&Lobo, Max Lasser, Ottmar Liebert, Prince, David Bowie, Andreas Vollenweider, ... Right now I'm listening to Marshall Crenshaw. I'm pretty eclectic based on two things: I learn from the music or it transports me.
Do you listen to music when you write?
All the time and that includes the sounds of nature (often work on my backporch which abuts forest).
What makes you laugh?
Myself most often. A good joke (so subjective!).
This is an Art and Author blog, so I obliged to ask: Favorite work of art or sculpture.
Another toughy. Hmm...My honest to god first response was "The Andromeda Nebula, The Horsehead Nebula, The Crab Nebula, The Heart Stars, ..." Eventually I got to "the aurora borealis, the ocean, ..." And of course Susan is in there. Human made, though? Do cityscapes count? Buildings? Monuments of hope or charity? And do we count "favorite" as "interesting" or "amazed by" or "beautiful to look at" or ...?
How old were you when you started writing?
I think it was late single digits although I'm sure I was making up stories before that. My sister got me started.
Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
Both. It depends on what I'm working on. Often stories come to me fully realized and I'm just recording them. Sometimes I get the last scene, nothing else and write towards that last scene. Sometimes I get an idea and then several scenes come to me over about a week. This happened with Ritchie and Phyl. I wrote the first scene then made notes on the rest (an outline in scenes).
Describe your perfect evening.
Susan and me on the backporch, our dog and cat sleeping on the futon, watching the darkness envelop the woods as they come out to say hello.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everything and Everywhere.
What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I don't get it often and when I do I can usually trace it back to the cause, alleviate the problem and continue writing. An example is Labor Relations.
Who is your favorite author?
Another tough question. It depends on what I'm reading for. And about. Craig Johnson's fairly consistent as far as storytelling and storycrafting go. I've always enjoyed his Longmire novels and short stories both as stories and writing examples. I've recently discovered Katherine Mansfield and am in awe of her skills (that theme of "learning" is cropping up again, it seems). James Dickey is a master poet. Once I get started on his stuff it's tough to put down. Langston Hughes and James Baldwin woke me up. Painfully and needfully. Ursula LeGuin. And I'd be ashamed if I didn't mention James Tiptree, Jr./Alice Sheldon. She woke me up, as well. Algis Budrys is a steady influence. Again, eclectic. We haven't even gotten into the ancients and near-ancients (everything from myths, fairytales and folklore from around the globe to Verne, Wells, Lucien, Shelley, Homer, ...) all of whom teach so much.
Best book you ever read.
The next one.
Last book you read.
Thirteen Moons/Charles Frazier (+++), Station Eleven/Emily St. John Mandel (---), The Darkening Web/Alexander Klimburg (-), No Is Not Enough/Naomi Klein (0). I rarely read a single book at a time. The last single book I read was Michael Crichton's "The Terminal Man"(+++).
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Susan. She said "Yes".
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
The Universe. To discover that all my questions are meaningless, irrelevant.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Write, write and write. When you think you've written something that's totally completely freakin' brilliant, put it aside for at least a month, preferably a year. After that time's gone by, pick it up again and decide if it's still totally completely freakin' brilliant. If it is, send it out. If it isn't, congratulate yourself for what you've learned (as in my pulling "Empty Sky" from circulation while I improve it. I should note that everybody who's reached out to me after reading it says it's great, wonderful, spell-binding. I'm the only one so far who thinks it can be improved.)