Friday, October 19, 2012

Good news!

My story "The Dead Travel Silently" has won first-place and will be published by Rogue Blades in its STEALTH challenge anthology. I essentially woke up to this news today, as the gmail message notification was the first thing I saw after I dazedly turned off my phone's alarm clock. Great wake-up call. I confess I haven't been writing. I've been working, of course, and coaching soccer. (I played four years on my college's team. It's become clear to the local club that I know the game, so in addition to coaching my older son's team and assisting with my younger son's, I've been recruited to coach the all-star team for my older son's age group.) I've also spent too much time playing Avernum: Escape from the Pit on the iPad--easily the most addictive D&D-style game I can recall playing. My resolution is that this morning's wake-up call will also serve as a wake-up call for my writing career as a whole. I have some talent; time to get back to using it. Cheers, RR

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Change of course

Dear Reader, I'm still alive. Also, I'm still writing. My intention last year was to write Goldspire, a sword-against-sorcery novel. At some point in the late spring, though, I lost momentum and turned my attention to other pursuits. Mostly good ones--time with my family, work, playing and coaching soccer, Dungeons & Dragons, comic books--but non-writing ones. I did write one fantasy short story for a proposed anthology and am awaiting word on its fate. We recently returned from a vacation in Costa Rica, and while there, I had an idea for an "urban fantasy" novel. (Quick tangent: as far as non-fantasy thrillers go, The Day of the Jackal is unequivocally masterful.) I've enjoyed reading some urban fantasy novels (e.g. Hanover's Black Sun's Daughter series and Hearne's Iron Druid series) but have absolutely cringed at others. I came to this conclusion, though: pre-Enlightenment fantasy is somewhat at low tide now, and though I'm confident in the potential of Goldspire, it's a tough book to write (multiple, third-person viewpoints), and I'm not sure it's the best time for me to bear that burden while also holding a full-time job and parenting two high-intensity boys. A first-person, contemporary voice, on the other hand ... Which leads me to my new work-in-progress: Peacemaker. It's the opening of the story of Dylan Galloway, a youth minister in Atlanta who also serves as the assistant of Father Luis Rocha, a full-fledged exorcist. After Padre Luis vanishes, Dylan must find him and discover what sinister plan would require the exorcist's kidnapping as its first step. I'm excited. Cheers, RR

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Goldspire - update

This hasn't been an ideal spring. Our sons have had the flu, strep, and now a stomach virus, and we had to clean out many items in our fridge and freezer due to a 3+ day power outage.

Despite these delays, I'm happy to report that I've finished the outline of Goldspire. Translating an outline into a story is a formidable task, of course, but I'm ready to give it a go.

Happy Easter to all,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goldspire - under construction

Let it be known that, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, my sons are going to bed and sleeping through the night like good human children (as opposed to the insatiable and feral mutant-wolverine cubs they resembled in their earliest years). Amen.

What this means is that I have no more excuses for not writing. (The year did start slowly, thanks to illness and 10 straight days of icy streets and no school, but those have passed.) I have time, health, and a surprising remnant of sanity. So I've officially begun outlining my first novel, Goldspire, which stars Andreas and Tanion, who were 5th and 6th in my '20 Heroes' series, published last year at

Though I was a mathematically-challenged English major, I've calculated this: 1,000 words per week yields 52,000 words per year. (And 2,000 would be 104,000--amazing!) So here we go, like Andy in The Shawshank Redemption, slowly and steadily carving out the path that leads to the heart's desire.


Monday, December 20, 2010

20 Heroes: Yelena (part two)

The nineteenth of my "20 Heroes in 2010" is now up at This is the conclusion of "Love & Winter," my story that placed in the finals of the Writers of the Future Contest. (Dmitri and Ivanir should be counted with Yelena as heroes in this tale, so there are actually three heroes in the last two postings.)


Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 - retrospective

As we get older, time acquires the illusion of acceleration. A single year is 12-1/2% of an 8-year-old's life, but only 2-1/2% of a 40-year-old's. (I have a couple more years before turning forty, but it's an easier number for an English major to manipulate.)

2010 was one of the fastest years yet from my perspective. And while it was a challenging one in terms of my day job as a government attorney, it was a productive one for my nascent writing career. The highlights:

* In April, I had the honor of interviewing my favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay, in conjunction with the release of his magnificent new novel, Under Heaven.

* In July, my essay "Servants of the Secret Fire: Why Fantasy & Science Fiction Matter" won second-place in Pyr's 5th anniversary essay contest.

* Also in July, I again had the pleasure of presenting at Wofford College's Shared Worlds creative writing camp for high school students.

* In October, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly published my story "The Sea Wasp."

* And throughout the year,, which has become a go-to source for spot-on book reviews and other hot, buttery goodness, published my original character sketches in the ongoing series "20 Heroes in 2010."

As for the works of art I most enjoyed this year:

* Book: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. I didn't read quite as many books this year as I usually do, but this one stands alone. My review is HERE.

* Album: The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

* Film: Up and The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)

* TV Series: Burn Notice, Nikita, and the new Sherlock Holmes series on PBS. All three are secretly sword-and-sorcery tales in that they feature talented rogues who, with only a handful of allies, match weapons and wits against mysterious or (in theory) superior forces.

Looking ahead to 2011, I have two projects planned: (1) a short story set in my hometown of New Orleans--let me give one more shout-out to the 2010 Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints! Who dat!--and (2) a novel. Our children are (usually) sleeping through the night now; the time has finally come to realize a long-deferred dream and write a great novel ... one word at a time.

In the year to come, may you realize all of your good and beautiful dreams.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

20 Heroes: Yelena

The eighteenth of my "20 Heroes in 2010" is now up at This is part one of "Love & Winter," my story that placed in the finals of the Writers of the Future Contest.