Posts Tagged ‘Nicholas Ozment’

Places in the Heart

September 16, 2009

Today I collaborated on a poem with my mom. How is that possible, you ask, since she died several years ago? No, I didn’t hold a seance. As I was putting together the content for this posting, I came across a manuscript of hers she’d written in 1998, a poem she’d intended to submit to Cricket. It was in a rough, unfinished state, and somehow I just felt like working on it. I used most of her poem, revising many of the lines, and built a new poem around it. It tripled in length, but I maintained the spirit of what she was doing — now it sounds like both of us. I’m sure she’d approve; we did this sort of thing all the time while she was alive, so why stop now, huh? I believe I will try submitting it to Cricket. I’ve never had any luck selling a poem to them, but if they’d accept this one, it would mean Mom would have a by-line in Cricket at last.

Since I’m submitting it, I can’t publish it here — but I will if they reject it. (Don’t be disappointed — something of Mom’s is coming up here as soon as I’m done with my rambling report!)

As far as I can tell, the RSS feeds I tried to set up are working. One more time, to be sure you know what I’m talking about: when you first arrive for the day at this page, there’s a calendar and a lot of stuff in blue letters over at the right, right? Scroll down, and under all those Tag words in various sizes, there are two big buttons that say “RSS-Posts” and “RSS-Comments.” I tried clicking on the one for posts, and it took me right to a way to set up an RSS feed for this blog. (I didn’t go to the final step, because I don’t want notification when I post a new post: I’d rather not know. . . .) So I believe anyone who wants to be automatically notified when a new post is up can be.

Next: Nicholas Ozment, who appeared in an interview here a few weeks ago, has expanded on part of what he said about flash fiction, and you can read more from him on the topic at http://www.everydayfiction.com/flashfictionblog/killing-darlings.

Okay, here’s a true story: The following caption appeared under a photo in my hometown’s newspaper recently:

“Part of a tree was broken off on the courthouse lawn by the Abe Lincoln statue.”

[Shudder!] I knew there was something sinister about that statue! Apparently it comes alive in the dead of night and breaks municipal trees. There’s no horror like small-town horror.

The Christian County Courthouse in Taylorville, Illinois

The Christian County Courthouse in Taylorville, Illinois

There it is, the courthouse lawn, where the sinister statue lurks. (Ooh, didn’t Vachel Lindsay have a poem called “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight”? [!!!] Strangely prophetic!) This was taken from the opposite corner to where the statue is. What you don’t see is usually scarier (in movies) than what you do see. . . .

Sure, we still have plenty of trees, but I’m certain you’d agree this can’t go on. I hope the Taylorville police are being issued bronze-piercing bullets.

All right, getting serious now (grroink!):

I want to be absolutely sure no one missed the last few comments on the post before this one. Please go back there and read them. You all who read the blog — thank you so much for being here. Just reading it is fine — you’re very welcome to do that. But when you take the time to comment, everyone benefits. What we have here is a fully-interactive salon for those who love stories, for those who love friends, and for those who love life. And like a college dormitory or a World Fantasy Convention, it goes on 24/7. We live in different time zones, different hemispheres, so you never know when something will pop up, when someone will have pulled a chair up to the fire and be ready for some merry company.

Anyway, in those last couple comments, Shieldmaiden and Marquee Movies were talking about the end of The Hobbit, how it’s one of the best endings in any book out there. And they were discussing those wonderful places we gather, the places we spend time doing things we love, perhaps with the people we love. (I won’t repeat them here, but I mean it — go back and read those comments!)

What places in stories would you add to the list? Places of comfort and peace, good cheer, replenishment, and comradery. . . . I think that’s where we want to go in our communal reminiscing this week. Tell us the places you love in books, stories, and/or movies where the characters gather — those best, unforgettable, infinitely inviting places that you wish you could go and live in.

And — you’re also encouraged to tell us about actual places that you love to spend time — either now, or at some previous stage of your life.

Who can forget Doc Graham in Field of Dreams, sitting Ray Kinsella down in his office on that magical night and saying, “This is my special place. When you find your own special place, the wind never blows so cold again”? And in the same film, Ray answering Shoeless Joe’s question “Is this Heaven?” with “No; it’s Iowa.” And then later glancing from the miraculous baseball field he’s carved out of a cornfield — gazing up to where his wife and daughter are sitting on the porch swing, and realizing that it really is a part of Heaven, after all — the place where dreams come true.

By the way, I’ve actually been to the Field of Dreams, the one where the movie was filmed. The baseball field, the farmhouse, and the cornfield are still maintained, just as they appear in the movie, in Dyersville, Iowa. You can still see, carved into one seat on the bleachers, “Ray Loves Annie” inside a heart. Marquee Movies and I went there together and spent an afternoon I will never forget, playing catch with a baseball, lounging on the bleachers, and venturing into the cornfield, where you can almost hear the whispers of Shoeless Joe and his teammates. Also, I ran the bases. And Marquee Movies walloped a ball way out into center field. You can go there, too, if you’re ever in Iowa. I totally recommend it.

The serendipitousness of this topic is that it segues perfectly into what I was already planning for this post’s main event. I’m going to take you back to 1991, to a pair of essays written by my mom and dad about their special places.

Here we go, then. Ladies first: these are the words of my mother, Mary Anne Durbin.

Mary Anne Durbin as a senior in high school

Mary Anne Durbin as a senior in high school

When Joe and I first married, our kitchen table was small because the kitchen was small.

After our son Fred was born, we added first a bassinet, then a low “play table” and finally a high-chair off to the side, so our son could learn what to do about food and books.

Then we doubled the size of the kitchen, so that meant a larger table.

We went shopping, which consisted of attending auctions until we found a wooden table to our liking. Somehow chrome and Formica can’t make a proper kitchen table. This one was perfect — a long harvester’s table that can sit four on each side and two on each end.

As I sit at the kitchen table, the stove and refrigerator are behind me. When a meal is ready, I tell Joe and Fred (if he’s home), and they come with books in hand to enjoy a good repast.

Something from the garden is at almost every meal throughout the year. In season, and especially in the springtime, flowers from the yard also have a place on the table.

I fill the plates from the stove, and pass them to Joe and Fred, along with the proper utensils for the meal.

In the center of the table is my German grandmother’s “spoon jar,” in case they need a teaspoon.

I have never mastered the art of reading and eating at the same time, but it is fun to hear the comments and views of what is current with Joe and Fred, or to hear an occasional passage read aloud.

When a meal is not in progress, the table is mine!

Upon arising, the little Bible and daily devotions at the table set a proper direction for the day.

At my left elbow is the “slush pile” of incoming mail. We subscribe to a few good magazines and contribute to a few good charities, so there is plenty of mail each day.

The Smithsonian goes directly into the bathroom for serious reading; others go onto the slush pile to be read as time permits. When I have finished with something, I pass it across the table where Joe has a similar pile at his right elbow.

Also on my slush pile are blank backs of junk mail for creative composition. The telephone is at my right elbow. In front of it are letters to answer and small pieces of blank-backed paper for taking notes.

A chair to my right holds my purse — the filing case for letters to mail, coupons to use, papers to take to town, and bills to pay.

Beyond the phone, on the far corner of the table, are the phonebook, writing tablets, papers to file in other locations throughout the house, and papers to recycle.

My dining room table is reserved for more exacting work — treasurer’s reports, income tax preparation, and newsletter mailings.

A final professional polish is put on all our creative work at the word processor on my desk in my office.

But it is the kitchen table, with all its mess of creativity, that is my favorite spot. Life is a prayer to be lived, and at my table are nourishment for the body, mind, and soul. Here is the stuff of true freedom — to worship God, to serve a husband, to nurture a child, to welcome friends, and to truly fulfill oneself.

There you have it. All my deepest conversations with Mom took place, usually late at night, at that table. That’s where we’d sit when relatives came to visit: Dad’s side of the family are living-room sitters; Mom’s side are kitchen-table sitters. And I always had better luck writing at the kitchen table than at any desk I ever set up.  There’s something homey and approachable and forgiving about a kitchen table. You’re under no pressure there.

Moving along, then, here’s Dad. The following essay is by Joseph Durbin, summer 1991:

Joseph Durbin at about age 20

Joseph Durbin at about age 20

My little pond, located on the southeast corner of our 10-acre plot, is the place dearest to my heart at my home.

My wife, Mary Anne, and I had the pond dug when our son Fred was 11 years old. That was in June 1977. He and his friends spent many happy hours there growing from children into young men and women.

In addition to being the site of much swimming, fishing, boating, and camping, it also was the premier locale for my son’s many home movies, and later, video films.

He had a passion for writing his own scripts and then enlisting his friends to act them out for the camera. Many times I was drafted to perform at the video camera when the script called for my son to appear in the production.

I was part of the gang, accepted by the group. I can remember the day when the boys had me film them as they rode their bicycles, one by one, down the hill and into the pond, reciting poetry all the way. It was hilarious! The short, bumpy ride, the brief airborne phase, and later, the huge splash!

The pond is an enchanted place because in most people’s eyes it would appear to be no more than a mere mud hole. That is because they see only with their visual senses. If they could see with their hearts, they would view an ever-changing panorama of life. The pond itself changes in size and content of life depending on rainfall or the lack thereof.

In the drought of 1988, Fred and I grasped the opportunity of low water to build a concrete retaining wall across the base of the earthen dam. Fred had never worked with concrete, but as a child had seen me pour sidewalks around our home. After I explained the process to him of the proper proportion of sand, gravel, cement, and water, he was great.

I was able to work on building the forms and putting them into place. And he kept the concrete coming to me. It seemed as if we could read each other’s thoughts.

Later Fred journeyed to Japan to teach English as a second language. In addition to his classes of school children, he also had a group of about a dozen housewives as students. Fred must have told them many wondrous tales about the “enchanted pond,” because one of his students, Michiko, and her two small sons, came to the United States in August 1990 for a visit with us. They just had to see all the places that Furedo-san had talked about in his classes. Needless to say, they also became enchanted with our pond.

As to the future of the pond? If I were younger, I would build a “yellow brick road” around the perimeter. At various places along the path, I would have figures of fairy-tale characters hidden in the grass or beneath the trees. I would have a footbridge across the shallow end, and also several little waterfalls to slow the water down as it entered the pond from the fields.

On the pond itself, I would float replicas of Viking dragon ships for the boys to ride on, and for the girls, perhaps swan boats.

But, alas, I’m getting too old, and the task is beyond me. But I can dream, and that is what the “enchanted pond” is all about.

And that’s Dad. You can see why I love that little piece of land so much. I have the best memories of summer twilights, the fireflies winking all around, sometimes a startled deer fleeing before us from the water’s edge as we approached. Dad would sit beside the water, smoking a cigarette, basking in the serenity. The purple woods marched away to the south and east. I would sit and read Stephen R. Donaldson, or Stephen King, or Clark Ashton Smith, or Lord Dunsany (those are some specific “pond books” I remember). Down there, I’ve encountered a wild fox red as fire. And once, I was stalked by a bobcat while camping with the reader of this blog whose icon is a brown snowflake! Wonderful place. Wonderful time.

Wonderful parents!

So, tell us your stories! Places? From your own experience, from stories . . . places in the heart.

Oh, yes — I stole that title from a beautiful movie starring Sally Field, Danny Glover, and John Malkovich. You should definitely see it!

Okay, we’ll close with a few pictures from the actual movie-location Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.

Fred on the bleachers at the Field of Dreams

Fred on the bleachers at the Field of Dreams

The place where dreams come true.

The place where dreams come true.

"If you build it, he will come." (I'm in this picture -- see me?)

"If you build it, he will come." (I'm in this picture -- see me?)

Fred on the pitcher's mound at the Field of Dreams (I'm in this one, too! See me?)

Fred on the pitcher's mound at the Field of Dreams (I'm in this one, too! See me?)

GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Flash Fiction: An Interview with Nicholas Ozment

August 21, 2009

The short story was once famously defined as fiction that could be read in a single sitting. When we look back today at the stories that definition was meant to describe — the “short story” of a century or two ago — we notice at once that the world has changed since then. Many a supernatural tale by Hawthorne, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, Edith Wharton, Lovecraft – even Poe, the “Father of the Short Story” — seems anything but short by current standards.

I wonder what the readers and writers of those classic stories would have made of the shortest stories on the market today. Would they have been shocked, perhaps even a little offended, like many in the crowd hearing the Gettysburg Address? President Lincoln’s speech — arguably the most powerful and enduring in our country’s history — seemed on the day of its delivery to be hardly a speech at all. “He can’t be finished speaking already!” some thought.

So we might wonder about these short, short stories that have become such a large part of the literary landscape in the 21st century. Microfiction . . . flash fiction. Do such a few words really constitute a story? Not that we should carry the Gettysburg analogy too far; but the writing principle exemplified in Mr. Lincoln’s words is the same ideal that flash fictionists strive for. They seek to arrange a very few purposeful words to get a job done . . . a “job” that will continue to resonate with readers for a long time after the story is told.

Since this type of writing is most definitely not my area of expertise, I thought this would be an excellent time to let you hear a voice other than mine. For this posting, we have a guest author!

Nicholas Ozment is a long-time friend. I met him indirectly through Dragonfly. A particular reviewer, though overall quite positive, had taken my book to task for its Christian elements. In the letters section of the well-known genre magazine in which the review had appeared, I noticed a response defending Dragonfly on this issue by the co-editors of a magazine called Mooreeffoc — one Nicholas Ozment and one G. N. Dybing. I quickly tracked down an address for them, wrote to thank them, and checked out their magazine; and we quickly discovered that all three of us were very much on the same wavelength regarding what delighted us in the world of speculative fiction. We were friends for several years before we met face-to-face. (I collected every issue of Mooreeffoc [and yes, even read it, not just collected!], which was the sort of magazine I’d always wished had existed — and which, incidentally, received an official mention in Writer’s Digest as one of the most promising new small-press magazines. I commend to you Ozment’s House of Twilight, the current successor of Mooreeffoc, which picked up where the former magazine left off.)

Anyway, Nick is our featured guest this week, and he has a lot of insights to offer, whether microfiction is your thing or not. I’ll start by giving you a partial list of his qualifications and literary accomplishments — a list that is anything but “micro” — and then the interview follows. I’m very grateful to Nick for agreeing to do this interview, and for his well-considered responses.

First, here’s his weblog: Ozmentality, at http://ozment.livejournal.com. (It includes his complete bibliography, links to on-line publications, and regular updates.)

 Nick recently debuted as a featured cover author in the May issue (#3) of Arkham Tales (www.arkhamtales.com) with his chilling story “The House on Waterloo Lane.”

 He is the co-editor of Every Day Poets (www.everydaypoets.com), which provides readers with a new poem every single day.

 And he is a regular contributor of flash fiction to Every Day Fiction (www.everydayfiction.com). (Like its companion site, this one will fix you up with a new story every day, short enough to read on your lunch break, or over your morning coffee, or while you’re supposed to be stirring the soup, or whenever.)

 Nick’s humorous fantasy novel, Knight Terrors: The (Mis)Adventures of Smoke the Dragon, is even now being serialized on-line at http://knighterrors.blogspot.com. This nifty tome is slated to be published as a book, with illustrations – probably early in 2010 — by Cyberwizard Productions. (I suggested the title! MY idea! — but Nick claims he’d already come up with the “Knight Terrors” part himself.)

 In February 2009, one story from that book, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” finished in the top ten in the 2008 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll for the category fantasy short story.

 Nick’s story “Cat Got Your Tongue, Evil Got Your Eye” placed third in the 2008 SFReader Fiction contest (www.sfreader.com).

 His story “The Wrong Blue” placed second in the 2005 Dylan Days Creative Writing Contest, fiction—general division. (This is one of my favorites of his stories.)

 He received an Honorable Mention in the eighteenth annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, for “The Prairie Whales Are All Extinct,” published in Mythic Delirium #11.

This one particularly relates to our interview: his flash piece “The Only Difference Between Men and Boys” was published on Every Day Fiction, July 21, 2008. To date, it has been the most-read EDF story. It was anthologized in Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 (November 2008). As of July 30, 2009 it had 51,516 hits on EDF.

 Nick’s stories have been widely published on-line, anthologized, and recorded for podcasts. He’s had work in Weird Tales. He has published academic essays on Tolkien, Shakespeare, and Frank Belknap Long, he’s a reviewer of books and movies — and somehow in all that, he finds time to teach a full load of university courses — and to be a family man (most recently a proud father).

So — are we all agreed he knows some things about writing in today’s world? Without further adieu, here’s the ‘view — I’m FSD and he’s OZ.

FSD: One genre in which you’ve had great success is flash fiction. Would you briefly define flash fiction for our readers?

 OZ: I really couldn’t define it better than Camille Gooderham Campbell does in her introduction to The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 anthology, so if you don’t mind my quoting from her:

“Despite its appeal as a quick read, flash fiction is not simplistic. Quite the opposite; it can and should be one of the most demanding literary forms, with a need for perfectly crafted prose, a complete story arc in a tight space, and an immediately engaging hook. [. . .] The defining characteristic of flash, beyond the number of words, is that it has a plot structure, with an introductory situation, rising action or tension, a climax, and a resolution. Because of the word-count restraint, some parts of the structure are often implied, hinted at, or sketched in, but the reader should be able to make a guess at the whole story arc.”

FSD: Do you regard a flash story to be a conventional short story condensed to a microcosm, or is flash an entirely different form?

OZ: Following Campbell’s definition, I’d lean toward the former: a conventional short story condensed to a microcosm. If it does not contain (or at least imply) each element of the traditional narrative arc—beginning, conflict, rising action, climax, resolution—then it becomes something else: a vignette or a prose poem or a character sketch.

FSD: Can you describe the process you go through from conception to the finished flash piece?

OZ: When I’m hit with an idea that turns into a flash, I usually think right away “This could probably be expressed in a very short form.” So I’m aware that what I’m writing is potentially a flash piece; however, I still write the story out as I see it unfolding—all the details, all the dialogue. That first draft almost always comes in over the 1,000-word maximum. And sometimes I discover that to tell the story right, it really needs more space, in which case I expand on it and it just becomes a short story.

But if I’m only off the mark  by 200 words or so, then I go through and start paring. Just as with poetry, I look for extraneous words—descriptions or bits of dialogue that don’t really add much to the essential story—and I take the scalpel to them. What can be left unsaid? What can the reader infer? Most adverbs and adjectives die at this stage, too. Then, when I’m down to, say, 1,002 words and I really don’t see how the piece could sacrifice another word, I get really nitpicky: Is there an article or a conjunction that won’t really be missed? Slice out a “the” here and an “and” there, and it’s there. That’s why some of my flash fiction comes in at 1,000 words exactly.

There are times, though, when I set out to trim 200 words and, in the trimming, find that more can go—here is a whole paragraph that isn’t really necessary—and then the piece (about which I was originally thinking “How could I possibly cut 1/6 of this and still retain its impact?”) ends up being 970 words. I like getting that wiggle room at the end—because then I can go back in and restore an adjective or two that it really pained me to lose.

FSD: What makes an outstanding flash story? When you’ve really gotten a piece right, what is it that you notice or recognize about the story?

OZ: It packs an emotional punch without recourse to the build-up one has in a longer story. That is why it is essential that your reader identify with the character(s) immediately: you don’t have time to draw the reader in gradually, filling in back-story. You’re throwing them into the action with strangers and asking them to empathize with these people. It’s a tough challenge: like convincing them to get married on a first date.

FSD: Do you know anything about the origins of flash fiction? Is it primarily a product of the Internet, which typically requires everything to be bite-sized and easy to take in at a glance . . . or does it have more of a relationship to, say, Asian poetic forms such as the haiku . . . or does it come from somewhere else?

OZ: The “microfiction” movement predates the Internet. I’ve seen collections from the 80s, but I’m not terribly knowledgeable about its roots before that. Hemingway is often credited with having written the shortest story (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”) and one could point to works before that which would meet the criteria of flash. The Internet has certainly taken what was really a novelty subgenre and put it on the map, though. There are now dozens of web-magazines dedicated solely to flash fiction, and they are some of the more popular fiction sites on the Net. Probably for the reasons you articulated: a person on Digg or Stumble can click on the link to “The Only Difference Between Men and Boys” and read it in a couple minutes. Immediate gratification.

FSD: What mistakes are commonly made by beginning writers of flash? Are there gimmicks or story patterns that flash editors are seeing way too much of?

OZ: The first, which has been alluded to before, is not really telling a story: what you’ve written does not have a narrative arc. It’s an amusing character sketch, or an interesting vignette, but it’s a snapshot, without the complicating action or change that a true story requires. Then it’s not flash.

The second is overreliance on the Twilight Zone-type twist ending. There is  a lot of that in flash, including some of the very best, but if the readers have not come on board with the characters, the most clever twist will lack impact. If the twist is amusing but there is no investment in the characters, then what you’ve written is really just a dressed-up joke. If the twist is frightening or tragic but the reader has no involvement with the characters, then the reader’s response to their fate is “Who cares?”

FSD: In many ways you are the present-day counterpart of, say, Ray Bradbury or Harlan Ellison — the writers who turned out story after story and made their living at it during the pulp era. To what degree is the business different now? How is the life of a short-fiction writer different than it was even a generation ago?

OZ: Well, the biggest difference now is that a Bradbury or Ellison could not make a living doing what they did. No one—not even a Stephen King—can pay the bills on short fiction. That’s why they’ve all gone to writing novels. I think the present-day counterparts to the pulp writers may be freelance television scriptwriters. If one can break in, then one can just squeeze out a living at it (twenty or thirty grand a year, I’ve heard). I’ve never tried. I’ve gone the other time-honored and respectable route of writers whose avocation is not profitable enough to be their vocation: I teach. (And I love teaching. Even if I could make a living writing full-time, I’d probably still teach.)

FSD: Your on-line story “The Only Difference Between Men and Boys” had 52,000 hits at the latest count. That’s an amazing number by anyone’s estimation. How do you account for the story’s runaway success? What is it that resonates with so many readers?

OZ: From what I understand, Star Wars and action-figure-collectibles communities embraced the story. A few people “Stumbled” or “Digged” it, gave it a thumbs up on the social network sites; it rose in the rankings on those sites so more people saw it and passed the link around. Eventually it “went viral,” to use the Net slang for something taking off and being seen by tens of thousands of people. Usually this happens with video clips from sites like Youtube, but here’s proof it can happen with fiction.

As to what resonates with those readers, I think it’s just nostalgia, pure and simple. Nostalgia for our childhood, forgetting about cares-of-life for a while and just playing. That’s something that really resonates in our overworked, overstressed, profit-driven society.

FSD: Is there anything you’d like to say about EDF, EDP, or anything else?

OZ: Welcome to the wave of the future. To quote Dylan, “The times they are a-changin’.”

FSD: Nick, thank you very much!

Unveiling, and Some Introductions

May 16, 2008

What’s that I just handed you? It’s a virtual cigar! (Well, my avatar just handed it to your avatar. Trust me. I saw them talking under the virtual streetlamp up the block.) Why am I handing out virtual cigars? Why, to announce the birth of my all-new website! You are the first to know about it! It’s so new, not even the Web crawlers have sniffed it out and slithered back to report it to their master, the Lord of Search Engines. If hit counters are to be believed, you can still be among the first hundred visitors! The URL is:

http://www.fredericsdurbin.com

I appreciate all constructive comments! (I appreciate them almost as much as enthusiastic support!)

Next, I’d like to tell you about three names to look for–three writers to watch. I can name names, because they all have public presences on the Web. In fact, they’re all just a mouse-click away, over there at the right of your screen, in the Blogroll. See them? We’ll go in alphabetical order:

Gabriel Dybing is a scholar just finishing up his Master’s. His passion and expertise lie in the epic sagas of the ancient North. Yes, I mean Vikings. His blog can tell you all about it, but he’s done a tremendous amount of research in this field, and he brings it all to bear when he weaves fiction of the mists and the rocks, the dark fjords, the enchantments and monsters. He tells us of hardy folk who–with sinew, blood, valor, and honor–wrest a living from their mysterious and starkly beautiful world. The great teachers of writing tell us to write what we know. Gabe goes one better: he knows his subjects, certainly–but more, he writes what he is. These tales are of his heritage and in his blood.

Nicholas Ozment has been called a “Mark Twain for our times”–if Mark Twain had had an even darker, more twisted side, and more of a penchant for ghosts and things that snarl in the night. Nick is adept at both long and very, very short forms, and his material ranges from science-fiction to horror to fantasy to poetry to humor to dramatic scripts to podcasts [pause for deep breath] . . . to pop-culture reviews to scholarly essays to literary fiction. . . . In short, he writes pretty much everything, and writes it well. He has been widely published in both print and on-line venues. He’s a college professor and, oh yes, also the editor of the magazine Ozment’s House of Twilight.

Michael Tresca knows the world of role-playing games (both on- and off-line) like no one I’ve ever met. He is the prolific author of gaming materials, articles, and reviews. His fiction includes fantasy, horror, and humor. Moreover, he delivers nail-biting suspense in a genre that blends technology, Lovecraftian horror, politics, and conspiracy theory.

Yes, I have the honor of calling these three guys friends, but I’d be reading them regardless. Watch for their names. I predict that you’ll be seeing a lot more of them, and I don’t mean in my blog.


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