…thy name is author. In which I look at the crazy ways being a writer is, well, nuts.

If you sit down to think about it, being a writer is truly absurd. Gone is any hope of a sensible view of the world. In which other occupation can the words “good rejection” make sense? Who else but a writer would read the names of two towns on a billboard–Sylvana and Arlington–and think, “Aha. The names of my next protagonists” ?  And whatever happened to the guilt you’re supposed to feel at eavesdropping rather than the frantic search for a scrap of paper on which to write that perfect turn of phrase  overheard in line at the supermarket or to record the plot point that jumped into your head?

Despite the turn to technology, I still have reams of paper sitting around my house, some blank, some filled with hundreds of thousands of words (that is NOT an exaggeration) that have either made me giddy or filled me with despair. I have more pens in my purse than a receptionists desk at a medical clinic, more empty journals than lifetimes to fill them. I have a huge dictionary that I keep close by my side for reference, and more bookshelves than a classroom and they are still too full to fit all the books I own, so I have huge plastic containers in the garage also filled with books.

And don’t think I’m lacking in the technology either. I have a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone, more writing programs than fingers, an e-reader, headphones, microphone, cameras, and yet I still like doing my first drafts in long hand.

TheSeaEagleSmallEverything I watch or hear is possible source of inspiration. True story. I saw a segment on TV about a man who found an injured owl. One of the owl’s wings had to be amputated. The man cared for the owl as best he could and the owl recovered, but, of course, couldn’t fly. When the man realized that the owl missed flight, he strapped on roller blades, perched the owl on his shoulder, and skated along the lakefront in Chicago. The owl would lean into the wind and pretend he was flying again. The man lost fifty pounds too. This story became THE SEA EAGLE, except for the fifty pounds. I don’t do diet books.

FalconAndWolfLatestSmallFamily is inspiration too. Robot Guy once said, “Engineers are never heroes in romance novels. Why don’t you write one with an engineer as a hero?” So I did: THE FALCON AND THE WOLF. Okay, so there’s also magic in that story, but why quibble over the details. And having a child with special needs became the inspiration for two special characters in AS YOU WISH. That one has magic too, but, hey, I’m writing fiction, not memoir.StevensAsYouWish

Once I was out walking with Robot Guy and a plane flew overhead. I looked up and my immediate thought was, “If it blew up right now, could I run away from the debris field?” So I asked him. He just looked at me and said, “Is that really what goes through your head?”

Yup. It really is.


Books I’m reading now:

Still can’t tell you, but when I get back to regular reading, you’ll find my choices here.

Conversations with My Husband

If you follow me regularly, you know that my husband is Robot Guy. This week I sent him a video of a robot arm catching objects. It was pretty cool, although the objects still needed tracking devices, and the speed of the robot was amazing. So today our conversation was:

Me: Do you think sometime in the future, protective vests could have the capacity to catch bullets and render them useless?

RG(Robot Guy): Ummm…I’m trying to picture how people could wear a vest weighing a couple of tons.

Me: No, I mean in the future when we have materials that weigh next to nothing but are strong.

RG: It would be better to have  some sort of helicopter blade to deflect the bullets, but you’d have to work out the rotational force because it would throw you off.

Me: Couldn’t the–

RG: Wait. I’m trying to figure out the f=ma. (Pause) It would be better if you had some sort of orb you could deploy in front of you.

Me: Like the Jedi training orb that Luke fights in Star Wars? Oooo, and it could shoot lasers and obliterate the bullets.

RG: No, you want to do something with the kinetic force. There’s a lot of energy in a moving bullet.

Me: Why could you just fphfft the bullets so they don’t exist?

RG: What you’d need is something to change the trajectory.

Me: That wouldn’t be good. Wouldn’t you just put your partner in danger? The bullet avoided you, but hits someone else?

RG: A black hole. A portable black hole, though I don’t know how you’d do that.


Yup. Welcome to my world. (Technical terms may be incorrect because this is me writing, after all. RG knows the technical terms) But, hmmmm, a portable black hole. Wonder how I could use that?


Books I’m reading now:

Still on the re-read of A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin