last updated: 15 November 2020
I’ve tried many word processors but, for me, Microsoft Word is the best tool for outlining and writing novels. Let me explain the features that matter to me, how I use these features, and why they make Word the right tool for me.
...continue reading: Word for Authors
last updated: 8 November 2020
Text expanders are utilitarian tools that make each day a little bit easier, and anything that makes each day a bit better must be good.
...continue reading: Text Expanders
last updated: 7 November 2020
A standard computer keyboard does not have an em dash key. For Windows computers there’s a quick and easy way to add this key.
...continue reading: Windows Em Dash Key
last updated: 12 July 2020
People used to want your money. Now they want your attention and they want your attention so they can make money. Perhaps the best reaction to the demand for your attention is simply to reach for the off switch.
...continue reading: The Off Switch
last updated: 19 June 2020
When most of our written communication is electronic, it might seem strange to think about pens, but there much to commend analog writing, for instance, speed, utility, and permanence. But getting the right writing instrument is not always straightforward.
...continue reading: The Right Pen
last updated: 11 May 2020
There’s a widely held view that acquiring wealth is a good thing with no downside. And indeed, there is much to be said for the acquisition of wealth. However, there are consequences that flow from having wealth.
...continue reading: The Consequences of Money and Wealth
last updated: 8 March 2020
The concept of usury is one that has been around for nearly as long as civilization. But why do we still care about it, and why is a fiction writer interested in the notion?
...continue reading: Usury
last updated: 8 February 2020
Have you ever thought about getting yourself a teeny tiny phone? Let me tell you a bit more about these devices.
...continue reading: Teeny Tiny Phone
last updated: 12 January 2020
Storytelling is something that is known in every culture and has always been a central part of human existence. But what makes it so?
...continue reading: Why Do We Tell Stories?
last updated: 8 December 2019
At first glance, Baby Driver is an everyday caper movie. But dig a little deeper and it’s a movie worth watching…and watching again.
...continue reading: Baby Driver
last updated: 7 December 2019
The Irishman is the latest movie from Martin Scorsese. It tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a low-level criminal who rises to positions of power within the Teamsters union and the Bufalino crime family. It is a detailed and complex story crossing the intersection between organized crime, trade unions, and politics. But at its heart, it is a story about family.
...continue reading: The Irishman
last updated: 8 November 2019
You can find and listen to podcasts on the web. However, an app on your phone and/or tablet may offer features that give a better podcast listening experience.
...continue reading: How to Listen to Podcasts
last updated: 3 November 2019
UK authors with US earnings will find that these overseas earnings are taxed at source, meaning the author receives less. By filling in a few forms, the author can arrange for payment to be made without the deduction of US tax.
...continue reading: US Earnings for UK Authors
last updated: 6 September 2019
In The Late Show Michael Connelly introduces us to a new character, Renée Ballard. The novel includes the best of Connelly’s police procedural story telling and overlays the tale with a look at the internal politics of the LAPD. I loved the book; let me tell you why you might enjoy it.
...continue reading: The Late Show by Michael Connelly
last updated: 5 September 2019
There’s a Napoleon Bonaparte quote: “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?” Was Napoleon right? Is there luck—or is luck just a matter of skill and hard work paying off?
...continue reading: Lucky Generals
last updated: 7 July 2019
Lies are part of our everyday currency. Sometimes we tell untruths with the best of intentions, however, usually our motives are less pure. Whether a lie then matters is a combination of many factors. But how do we think about lies in novels which are, by definition, collections of lies?
...continue reading: Truth and Lies
last updated: 11 May 2019
Thinking about the choices available and the decisions photographers make when taking a photo can help an author focus more tightly on the aspect of the story they want the reader to see. And by equal measure, by highlighting one aspect to the reader, then another aspect can be understated or hidden.
...continue reading: Through the Camera Lens
last updated: 28 April 2019
I was recently accused of giving advice. This may seem like a strange thing to bridle against, but there are important issues here—both for the people giving advice and for anyone seeking advice.
...continue reading: Giving Advice
last updated: 31 March 2019
The Maltese Falcon is seemingly a chase for a valuable statue, but when looked at through the lens of five questions the story can be seen as a quest for justice.
...continue reading: The Maltese Falcon: Five Questions
last updated: 29 March 2019
On first sight, Chinatown feels like a story about political corruption, corporate greed, and financial shenanigans, but as the story develops it becomes far more about the exercise of personal power. By asking five questions we can get to the central core of the story.
...continue reading: Chinatown: Five Questions