On writing painful scenes

I’m not saying anything any writer (including me) doesn’t already know, but I have to relearn this truth again and again.  The harder a scene that touches on something painful is to write the likelihood that you’re getting closer to what you’re really trying to say increases.

Write scared.  Write sweating.  Write on the edge of panic.   Bring something to the page that is worth the time a reader gives up to live in the world you’ve created.


Future Fantasy Magazine – Open for Submissions!

C.N. Faust

Hello my darlings!


I always have to start out with a huge picture, don’t I? I know no other size!

So, I suppose all of you know about the publishing company that a friend and I are pulling together? Well, just in case it is news – ta-da! Our company is Future Fantasy Publications (we Googled it and nothing came up – seems a safe choice!) and our first endeavor of many is to start a literary magazine.

What are we asking for? Poetry, short stories, art – pretty much anything you can think to submit so long as it falls into the categories of fantasy or science fiction. Horror is also allowed, but it has to be cross-genred with one or both of the above. Preferred length for short stories is under 10,000 words. Poetry should be between 1 – 3 pages.


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Game of Thrones Red Wedding Trauma and Henry Fuseli #RedWedding #gameofthrones

I could hardly sleep after last night’s Game of Thrones.  These lines from The Eve of Saint Agnes kept running through my head and I’m pretty sure I looked like Henry Fuseli’s painting, The Nightmare.

“And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form/Of witch, and demon, and large-coffin worm,/Were long be-nightmar’d.”

Henry Fuseli
The Nightmare exhibited 1782

Henry Fuseli The Nightmare exhibited 1782


Wayward Wisteria


I walk to work along a street named Wisteria, where there is no wisteria to be found, and planted wisteria in my backyard 12 years ago, but it has yet to bloom; nevertheless, it is wisteria-blooming time nearly everywhere else in Salem. Maybe even just past-time, so I took a walk and tried to capture some good shots of the exuberant purple and white blooms, which was not too difficult. The great thing about wisteria it that it needs support, so you get architecture and flowers at the same time. Even when the wisteria was not in bloom–as in my backyard, or on my next-door neighbors’ beautiful fence, or the arbor at the Ropes Mansion, it was still quite abundant in its more restrained way. Given the east Asian source of wisteria, I can imagine Salem’s merchants and adventurers bringing it back from China and Japan in the eighteenth, nineteenth…

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An Inside Look at Today’s Book Reviewers

Writers In The Storm Blog

Writers In The Storm is pleased to welcome Big Al, our first reviewer!

BigAlLooking at the posts on the Writers In The Storm Blog and reading the bios of the contributors I was reminded of one of my favorite things to say about what I do: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, review.”

I know, not very original, which is at least part of the reason why I’m not an author.

Assuming this blog’s readers are as accomplished and varied as the contributors, what could I have to say of value? I was told that I’m the first reviewer to guest post here, which means the range of subjects should be wide open, right? The request even included a few ideas. Rather than say a lot about one thing, I decided to say a little on two subjects, the world of book reviewing in general and how to…

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May 21 1813: Queen Mab is Printed



On May 21 1813, Harriet Shelley writes to her friend Catherine Nugent and mentions that Shelley’s poem Queen Mab is being privately printed:

Mr. Shelley continues perfectly well, and his Poem of ‘Queen Mab’ is begun [to be printed], tho’ it must not be published under pain of death, because it is too much against every existing establishment. It is to be privately distributed to his friends, and some copies sent over to America. Do you know of any one that would wish for so dangerous a gift?

Apparently, Shelley’s publisher Thomas Hookham had decided that the poem, with its utopian themes, was too dangerous for him to publish it. Shelley had decided to do it himself 

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Theatre of WAR’s HAMLET is the best Shakespeare in NYC right now


I’ve been waiting my whole life for Theatre of WAR’s production of Hamlet, running through May 19 at the 133rd Street Arts Center in NYC.

Too often, staged productions of Shakespeare’s plays seem like undigested chunks of Shakespeare, as if this most human and vital of playwrights is “good” only when the plays feel hard to understand.  But Shakespeare is not difficult.  Complex, thrilling, incomparable, yes, but not inaccessible.  Under director Cassaundra Post’s sure and brilliant hand, Theatre of WAR’s gorgeous, incendiary Hamlet feels like a play just written, like the ink is still wet.  All of the masterful actors bring to life thinking, changing, present human beings, and the language of the story rings as clear as bright water.