My schedule is different than every other “creative” person will advise you: I write in the afternoon. People will tell you to get up early and write in the morning. Write before you do anything else so your mind is clear. Write before work because you’ll be tired later.

But I am not a morning person. Not even when I was in school or had a regular job or the early shift. Any time I thought I was adjusting to waking up before 7, I was wrong, and as soon as my schedule changed, I was back to sleep.

I need a ramp. I need to hear other voices in my head, not only my own. I need something to eat in the morning. I need to get my fingers moving with some words that don’t matter. Then I can write. Then I can do my work. Then I feel like my eyes are open, and my mind is clear, and I have something to say. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t happen for me at 7 o’clock in the morning.


While this essay started out as an elegy for Levon Helm, two years ago, it’s impossible to write about The Band without writing about them all. That’s just the kind of band they were. I love them a lot, and this is the kind of zine I make when I want everyone to love what I love. It’s part introduction, part analysis, part pointing to the good stuff. I hope it’s a gentle nudge to discovering The Band for yourself.

Go buy THIS ZINE now, because I think it’s a pretty awesome one.

I’m making a zine-a-month. This is number two, and it’s about The Band.


All my ideas for April’s zine have fallen apart or evolved beyond what I can accomplish in the next five days, in which I’m also trying to finish writing a novella (which has very nearly become a novel, by the word count definition). So I went back through the archives to find something old, still good, and ready for a digital upgrade. I found the essay about The Band I wrote in the days after Levon Helm’s death. That was two years ago this month.

The Band didn’t have a leader. They didn’t even have a lead singer. They had three voices who could carry a band all by themselves, and everyone took a turn at the mic. Five guys, and everyone took a turn being the one who made The Band The Band. Robbie made the songs, and Garth made the sound. Richard had a contradiction of a voice, Rick had the harmonies, and Levon had the vision. 

You can’t make me choose my favourite, but Levon was the first I mourned. Richard was gone too soon, then Rick in the ‘90s, when I was still a kid. Levon was still around, still making music, when I became a fan of The Band. 

I’ll release the April zine in a few days, but until then, enjoy this, a 1971 cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Don’t Do It”, and one of the best examples of how Levon’s voice and drums worked together.


I want to do one revision where I only focus on expanding the sex scenes. I am definitely a romance writer more than an erotica writer. Even my short stories for anthologies have to have story and backstory and character moments more than orgasms. But I know I can make the sex scenes I do write better. I put a lot of character into the sex scenes. Now I have to go back to them and add more senses. That’s usually where I need the help.

Or where my writing needs the help. I need to remember to add more than just what the characters are doing, but what do they see, smell, touch, hear, and even taste. I should do a read through with every sense in mind.

I don’t write stories that are mostly sex. I write romance where the romance doesn’t fade to black. It’s not about writing porn; it’s about writing everything.

In my push to finish this ever-expanding novella for April, I forgot to mark the anniversary of my first publication. April 10th, 2013, A Great Rough Diamond was released. Since then, two more novellas, two more short stories, and a lot of words which, hopefully, you’ll be seeing soon. Thank you to everyone who has bought, read, rated, reviewed, or passed along a recommendation. It’s still weird for me to think of my books sorted next to so many famous names in your ereaders, but I’m going to keep writing, and maybe a few anniversaries from now, I’ll be more used to it. I hope you’ll still be reading. 



Jens Voigt’s famous mantra painted on the road in Geelong, Australia, during the World Championship Men’s Road Race.

Everybody loves Jens Voigt, right? While he’s still teasing us with his “final season”, I want to put together a fanzine to celebrate all the seasons, even the ones to come. Please submit essays, poems, portraits, comics, gifs, even your favourite quotes. Whatever you make, as long as I can copy-and-paste it into a .pdf.

A few details:

– writing should be no more than 1000 words. Please submit as .doc, .rtf, or .txt.

– submit visual art (drawings or photos) as .png, .gif, or .jpg.

– include names and URLs as you would like to be credited.

– artists retain all rights to their work.

Please submit to before the end of this year’s Tour de France, July 27th 2014. The works will be collected in a .pdf and available for download. Any questions can be emailed or submitted to my ask box.

Don’t you love Jens Voigt? Don’t you want to help me make a zine for what might be his last season in the peloton? I know you do.

Chase is, on the whole, a pretty good fellow and a very able man. His only trouble is that he has “the White House fever” a little too bad, but I hope this may cure him and that he will be satisfied.

Lincoln, on nominating Chase as Chief Justice (793).

I could tell you how much I hate Salmon P. Chase, but I’ll save it for my book.


Set yourself goals you know you can finish, but also massacre them some days.

On some days, making your daily 500 will be tough, but you’ll do it. String together a few of those 500 days, and soon you’ll be doing 600, 1200, and 2000 word days. Killing a 500 word day does far more for your sanity than struggling to constantly make 5000 word days. Spread your goal out. Let your words breathe.

“Write to the next milestone” is what has been working for me. It’s less about a number, and more about crossing a line. Scrivener counts two ways: once you set a total goal and a deadline, the program automatically calculates what you need to write each day to meet both. I have a third count because I write in sections of a thousand words. So each day, I want to finish a section, write the daily quota, and also see the total tick over to the next big number.

All of these tallies spur me on. If, at the end of my writing day, I see I’m less than 200 words from the next section, I’ll write it. Some nights, that’ll put me less than 100 words from the next big number. So why not write that, too? Each goal line I cross, brings the next one that much closer.