Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The first glimpse of the cover I've posted on-line. I'm pretty thrilled with it. I'll post the hi-res cover shot by itself soon, as well as the original wrap-around artwork. In fact, this poster features only the front cover, but the entire cover has a much broader view of Darwin, the small town in which this short story collection is set. Oh, and this poster isn't reproduced from a file. It's actually a photograph of the cover.

The first poster for Moonlight Sketches.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Review from one of the best literary journals in Canada

Yet another great review for Hard Ol' Spot. I'm very pleased to take up two whole paragraphs. As a newly published author, it takes out some of the jitters with a new book forthcoming in March.

Kudos to editor Mike Heffernan, artist Darren Whalen, and the amazing lineup of authors including Lee Thompson, JoAnne Soper-Cook, Michelle-Butler Hallett, Leslie Vryenhoek, Michael Crummey, and a holy host of others. I'm proud to be associated with this book.



Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cover Boy

Today I had my very first look at the cover for Moonlight Sketches. Gotta say, I am impressed, delighted, thrilled, excited, and just generally pleased.

The artist is Darren Whalen, who does amazing work. His website is http://www.darrenwhalen.net/ if you're interested in checking him out. He's been painting and sketching and what-not for a long time now, but he's still very young and, really, is just getting beginning to become known in the art world. I haven't a doubt, based on what I've seen of his work, his name is going to be pretty big one of these days, maybe sooner rather than later. I can't show around the cover for Moonlight Sketches just yet because it hasn't been approved by the publisher, but Darren also did the artwork for another book, an anthology named Hard Ol' Spot (see image below) in which I had two stories published. Both stories, "Break, Break, Break" and "Hold Out" also appear as part of my collection that's due out in the spring.

This process has taken a while, of course. When I first met with my publisher, Donna Francis of Creative Publishing (MS is being published under their Killick Press imprint, which has been doing high quality work with fiction for a long time now), I mentioned that I loved Darren's work on Hard Ol' Spot and she said if that's who I wanted to do my cover, that would be fine with her when the time came. I was blown away. Not many authors (especially first-timers) get to have any say in their cover art at all, let alone in who the artist would be. This has been the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the people at Creative. They've been an author's dream, right from the start. Lately, I've been dealing a lot with the publicist/marketing specialist (not sure of the exact title) Janine Lily, who is the consummate pro and very friendly and easy to get along with. She is razor sharp too--just like Donna--and doesn't mind giving an opinion when needed...and it's often needed.

Darren and I got together earlier this summer--sometime in June, I think it was--to discuss ideas for the cover. He and I were on the same page right from the start. He wanted to convey the essence of the entire book--which is essentially a series of dark-themed short stories all set in the same small town, a place called Darwin--and to do this, he thought the best thing was to represent the entire town on the cover.  Of course, he wanted to cast it in moonlight. While I loved the idea, I was concerned about the cover being too dark. Not to fear: he had it all figured out. It would be dark, it would be a sketch (as suggested by the title), and it would be this kind Blackwoodish dark blue tone to evoke the nighttime. And there would be lots of light coming from the suggestion of a full moon overheard. Anyway, I won't give all the detail, but it came out exactly as he described it, only better.

Seeing it with my name on the front, Darren's sketch of the town that has existed in my mind for nearly twenty years, and the words of praise on the back from some very well known and respected writers, just felt very...humbling. I've used other words (see above), but thats the ultimate one. This whole thing at times feels so much bigger than me, seeing my words go to print, my stories of people who, again, existed only in my imagination but are very real to me all the same, no words can convey the feeling that gives me.

Bravo, Darren.  Bravo. Thus far, and I'm sure it will continue, it has been an absolute pleasure working with you and an honour having you design the cover of my first book.

It's been a good day.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why write short stories?

It's sad--to me, at least--that the question even needs to be asked. The better question might well be, "Why read a short story?" But I've never been one for begging. I don't want to tell anyone else why they should do anything because if you have to explain, the battle's already lost. There is no way in this semi-literate world to convince anyone to read something they don't want to read. Short stories and poetry seem to be at the top of the "Most Unwanted" list.

But I've always liked short stories. Like most people, I was introduced to the form in grade school. Unlike most people, I took to it like a wasp to a garbage can. Unfortunate metaphor, but it will suffice. Edgar Allan Poe's "The Telltale Heart" is one of those I recall best--it was the "vulturous eye" of the old man upon which the insane narrator fixated, an image that has stayed with me since Grade Seven. I remember "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs, with the admonition that you "should be careful what you wish for." Here I was, the biggest daydreamer in the Western hemisphere and being told that my dreams could lead to tragedy, disaster, and mental anguish. And while I felt ill for the grieving parents who'd brought their son, in some loathsome form, back from the dead, I thought it was pretty cool what a mere thought could do.

Later on, in university, I was so enthralled with Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" and "My Kinsman, Major Molineux" that I went on to read his Twice-Told Tales and anything else by that author I could get my hands on. It was like being dragged willingly into a world I'd never even imagined--of witch trials in 17th C New England, of the changing of the guard in Colonial America, and people literally being tarred and feathered and paraded through town. Sure, I could look these things up on line or, back then, in an encycopedia. But there was something in the medium that compelled me to keep reading and to want to find more and read more of it. Quite simply, I liked being told a story. Maybe it was the yearnings of a child who didn't get read to enough at bedtime when he was young, like the baby who doesn't receive enough mother's milk. Stories, granted, are a different kind of nourishment, but it's a kind that we all crave at some point. Whether in film, song, graphic novel, or comic book, the story is the thing. It helps us make sense of our world sometimes, or it just entertains us--although I suspect it wouldn't entertain nearly as much if it didn't help us make sense of some things. On some level, the story is as primal as mother's milk, with similar nurturing powers and, in like manner, we lose our taste for it as we grow older.

Except, we still crave when we get older. We seek that nourishment where we can--in bars, from music, on the internet. It's like the human propensity for seeing faces--particularly the face of Jesus in a corn chip--in that we seek the man or woman who will tell us a good story, something to terrify us (like the escaped convict with the bloody hook for a hand!), mystify us (whatever happened to Ichabod Crane?), or teach us (as when we learn from Poe that madness resides within us all--a rather terrifying thought, in fact).

Okay, so maybe we are drawn to the story, but why on earth would someone choose to write a short story? I can't speak for the many who do write them. Everyone (or at least those who are paying attention) seems to know that short stories aren't the big draw they once were. Hardly anyone is reading them these days. There are too many other pulls on the imagination. The novel is bigger and sexier and, let's face it, can tell a much bigger story. Then, in this technologically advanced age, there is always the option to "make your own adventure" or seek thrills in a video game or watch reality TV, or any TV for that matter. One could even--heaven forbid--go down to court for a pickup game of basketball. There's just no shortage of options.

You would think in this so-called "magazine age" with its short attention span that the short story would be ideal. You could even read them on an iPod Touch, if you so choose. With its no-nonsense approach to the narrative, told in as few words as possible, the short story would seem to be the perfect companion for that evening ride home on the bus, or those few minutes in the dentist's office before they come to take you away, or that dead half hour when there's nothing going on and you just need some mental stimulation. Those last two words might be the key here because, at the end of a long day, the last thing a lot a people want is "mental stimulation." Of course, sadly, there are a lot of people who would consider themselves far better off without those two words entering their vocabularly, since we live in an age where it's so easy to become famous for doing absolutely nothing and having two clicks in your head isn't a requirement. Why be smart when you can be rich? Personally, I'd prefer both.

Will short story reading actually make you smarter? Well, that's a matter for some debate and it is treading into that territory where I didn't want to go, of convincing people they "should" read short stories. If you're intrigued enough to have read this far, then you probably don't fight your inclination to read them, not so much anyway. But those who stopped reading after the first paragraph, or even just the title, likely will not be bullied into submission. Those people we call the unwashed masses.

The real question, possibly, is whether writing short stories will make me smarter, as a writer? On the one hand, who cares? There is a danger, as I recall Stephen King recently pointing out, of short story artists writing only for the shrinking audience, for those who are actually reading. And I think there's an AWFUL lot of that going on. Editors often are interested in the magic tricks a writer can do--how many voices are there in this collection? Can he write in a postmodern style? Can he mess around with plot or write a character-centric piece that will have you creaming your jeans from the shear sexiness of the words, or is he just one of those old-fashioned writers who simply wants to tell a good story? The latter creature is in danger of extinction as more and more literary journals exist for the reading pleasure of those who subscribe to--and perhaps never even read--their magazines. They're often not interested in a good story well told. They want to know if you're being "experimental" with either form or language because, after all, "that's what everyone is reading."

Well, if that's what "everyone" is reading, they can read among themselves. Experimentation is fine, It is probably even necessary, to test the boundaries of what's been done and, especially what that particular writer has been doing. I often test my own supposed boundaries, if only so I don't bore myself to death. But there is a danger inherent in such behaviour when it becomes the sole reason for writing a story.

To me, a story should have, at its heart, the entertainment of whoever might read it. It might be read on a plane, in a living room, on a park bench, or wherever, and be understood (for the most part) and enjoyed by just about anyone. But there is a lot of writing for writers going on out there. I may even have done it myself, although, if I have, it is certainly not a consicous effort. Sure, I've written stories that castigate writers for performing such tricks--of speaking only to other writers, or to university professors and editors--in a private language that the unwashed masses couldn't possible be interested in. And who, really, could blame them?

Edgar Allan Poe wrote his share of stories that were meant to tweak the noses of his critics. He himself was "The Tomahawk Critic" and an editor of some renown. But his best stories--the ones that have survived him in the grandest way--are the ones that simpy seek to thrill, to anger, to excite...to thrill. He aims to produce an effect, and that is all. He doesn't want you to be thinking about the state of literary criticism while he's trying to tell you a story. He wants to scare the living crap out of you and make you afraid to go to sleep tonight. That's what he wants. It's sort of like , "Buddy, I'm already up; I might as well keep you awake too." Misery loves company and that, too, is a sentiment which drives many a writer, poets included.

I enjoy writing short stories. That wasn't always the case. But it is the case now because, once I started writing them and people starting reading them and enjoying them, I was hooked. There's not much money in it, but that couldn't possibly be the goal anyway. The audience just isn't big enough. I've always written novels--without much publication success yet, though I know that will change--and to novels I will return. But I'm already on to my next collection, about monsters of different kinds, and I salivate at the prospect of writing the next one. It's just plain fun. That's why I write short stories., or at least a big part of the reason.
There is an inherent artistic satisfaction I derive from producing something with a perfect beginnging, middle, and end. Sometimes they don't work out. But when they do, it's a feeling akin to having written a perfect song or painted a haunting portrait. Short stories aren't just miniature novels. They're not miniature anythings--they're just the size they mean to be and need to be in order to get the story told. If the idea can be told in 10,000 words, why would someone take 150,000? I guess there are many reasons for that, but the inverse question is even more to the point: if you can write a big idea in a few thousand words, now that's a challenge and one to be proud of. They might not pay you much for it, no matter how you publish it, but you've done something artistic.

Can't believe I used the "A" word, but I admit there is that sense of artistic pride in writing short stories. I like knowing that I can do it and that I did it. But if I ever find myself writing to an audience of writers--very often anyway--then I am in trouble. I like when other writers like my stuff, but there is a huge part of me that doesn't even care.

There are certain members of my family about whom I always say, "If they're pleased with what I'm doing, then I must be harming myself." Well, that's similar to my mantra about writing: "If all the critics and all the writers are pleased with my efforts, then I'd better think twice before doing it again." I like good reviews, but I don't need them. All I really need is to be true to my own vision for the story. Of course, having an editor who gets your vision is gold in itself, but you can't go trying to please an editor or anybody else. You don't get to be Poe, Hawthorne, King or Alice Munro by worrying about trying to reinvent the short story.

It doesn't need to be reinvented. It already exists.

Like a tree that falls in a forest.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Tick Tock!

Time's running out.

It's almost September and I'm trying to put the finishing touches on my novel, Finton Moon, but the clock keeps ticking--but that's fine; that's what clocks do.

I finished the editor's revisions on Moonlight Sketches near the end of the June and took a break to see some of the Central and Eastern parts of the island. The hope was to clear my head and then I could come back and throw myself into my writing. But the clock was ticking so loud I could barely hear myself think. So it all comes down to these next two weeks. To finish, or not to finish?

I'll keep you posted. As the fall draws near, I hope to make time to write a lot more about how the summer went. (Sad words, those.) For now, though, it's back to work.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Moonlight Sketches: A New Beginning

You might notice two things.

One thing is the new title on my blog. I've chosen the new title "Moonlight Sketches" after doing away with the old one, "Gothic Times" (R.I.P.), which I might resurrect at another time. Moonlight Sketches also happens to be the title of my new book coming out in Spring 2011. It's a collection of short stories about the fictional town of Darwin, Newfoundland, a place with a light heart and a dark soul. At present, there are fifteen stories, all connected by the fact that they take place in Darwin. Each story focuses on a different character, although, just as you everywhere you go in a small town you meet the same people, there are recurring characters throughout this collection.

I've been writing about Darwin for a long time now, really since I was about twenty years old. Kind of like Stephen King has "Castle Rock, Maine," I have Darwin, Newfoundland. I could set my stories just about anywhere, but it really helps to have this place that I can go to, where I know the landscape and the buildings by heart (although every now and then, a new person will appear or I'll encounter a new shop or a tucked-away corner of the Laughing Woods that I didn't know was there). Darwin is a rural area, surrounded by the oceans and trees, inhabited by people who know each other's names, but not necessarily their secrets. That's true to life of course, and it's just as true in the city as it is in the countryside. I could write "sunshine sketches," as Stephen Leacock did--although Leacock was well aware of the duality inherent in most people--but I choose to write "moonlight sketches". The darker, hidden side of people's lives is always far more interesting than the face they present to the public, and that, essentially, is what most of my writing is about.

It would be premature to say much more about Moonlight Sketches for now. I'm in the revision stages for my publisher right now and have to be finished it by the midway point of this summer. But, as the summer goes on, I'll be taking time to highlight each story and tell you a little bit about it--its basic premise and where the idea comes from, more or less (though who really knows?). By the time the book comes out, you'll have a pretty good idea of whether it's something that interests you.

I'm also aware that some of you are just interested in the writing process, as well as the publishing process, so I'll be blogging more about that too as I go. Sometimes I'm not sure what exactly people want when they read the blog of an emerging writer, so I'll just have to go with my instincts and write about the things that interest me and hope that they interest you as well. Having said that, I'll be posting stuff about other people's writing as well. That includes not just local authors, but writers in general who have inspired me in some way. In fact, I've already composed a list of top forty novels that have inspired me to write, and I'll be counting down that list over the summer, just for fun.

The second thing you might notice is that I'm blogging again. It's been a while, I admit, and really it's been too long. I enjoy writing and blogging, in particular, is a form of expression that gets my creative juices flowing. I intend this to be a place where I work some stuff out, not just where a certain project needs to go (I'm also working on three novels this summer, all near completion, just needing some prodding to get them across the finish line), but as a means of working out my thoughts about life in general, about the kinds of things that impress me or worry me or concern me about "the world". By "the world" I just mean everything and everyone, all the sane and insane, sensible and maddening things I see around me and think about constantly.

You see, I think a writer is not some special creature who knows how to use words better than anyone else. Of course, a writer has to have a vocabulary and know a little something about the craft of writing itself. But I honestly think some of those things can be learned, accumulated, if you will, over a period of time. A writer--a fiction writer, that is--is someone with a story to tell, the compulsion to tell, and the means of getting it onto the page in such a way that the reader will be entertained. A writer sees the world a little differently from most folks, but only because he or she notices the details and (here's the kicker) wonders about them, questions them, picks them apart, and puts them back together in the form of a story that, hopefully, someone else will want to read. If he's lucky, some readers (certainly not all and perhaps hardly any) will read that story and say, "Yep, there's truth in that thar tale." But I wouldn't count on that.

A writer is just someone who writes.

I mean, really, that's the truth of it. There's no mystery. It doesn't make me (or any writer) special. It doesn't make me any better than anyone else. Just as a carpenter feels the need to build things and a mechanic feels the need to understand how a car works, I need to understand how humanity works, talk about it in a form that makes sense and entertains someone. I need to write. That's all there is to it.

So I'm writing again in this blog, working on my collection and my novels, and expressing myself all over the place. I've been doing it a long time now and nobody's ever told me to just stop doing it. But even if they did, it wouldn't matter. It's not really an addiction. It's just something I do. To say I enjoyed doing it wouldn't always be true. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes, it's the most painful thing a person can do to their own brain. But I do it.

The sun shines. The rain falls. The writer writes.

Till next time,


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Soft spot for Winnie in Hard Ol' Spot

There was a new review of the Hard Ol' Spot anthology of Atlantic Canadian fiction in the Southern Gazette today, written by Harold Walters.

He's not the first one to take a shine to Winnie in "Hold Out". That's nice because I've already written forty pages of a new novella for Winnie as she takes on the world in my post-apocalyptic tale, "All That Remains" (tentative title). I wrote it about three years ago, right after I finished "Hold Out," simply because I felt that Winnie wasn't finished yet. I hope to finish that one soon. Winnie's been beckoning lately.

Anyway, here's the review. There are thirteen (I think) other talented writers included in Hard Ol' Spot, so I'm very flattered when I even get mentioned. It makes me hopeful that Moonlight Sketches will be well-received when it appears next Spring.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Halifax Chronicle-Herald Review

A review from the Sunday December 22, 2009 Chronicle Herald (Halifax). I previously listed the link, but that link is now broken. So here's what reviewer Judith Meyrick had to say about Hard Ol' Spot. It truly is an honour to be singled out among such talented writers.

Hard Ol’ Spot short fiction at its best


Sun. Dec 20 - 4:46 AM

Hard Ol’ Spot — An Anthology of Atlantic Canadian Fiction selected by Mike Heffernan (Killick Press, $19.95)

Selecting short stories for an anthology is a challenge. The content, the varying styles of the authors, it all must somehow "hang together" — make a whole. Mike Heffernan has walked this fine line well, and his new anthology, Hard Ol’ Spot, brings together a collection of stories that represents the best of Atlantic authors. Darren Whalen gives each story "a visual signature," his illustrations heading each story, sketching their essence.

These are stories about growing up and learning the hard way, about taking stands, and the Ocean Ranger. There is a quality to these stories that is uniquely Atlantic Canadian. They tell of the harshness of living in outport Newfoundland. They talk of resilience, and joy and dying, and throughout them, the Atlantic Ocean roars and simmers.

In six short pages, At Sea tells of a sailor suffering the deep misery of seasickness in raging seas. Don Roy somehow holds out hope, that a lifetime of poor choices and missed opportunities may still be redeemed.

Michael Crummey’s ability to place his readers inside his stories is remarkable. The Night Watchman tells of a company man, hired to walk the streets of Black Rock, to keep his employers informed of happenings in the night. And of Ellen, "although it’s only in (his) head that she’s part of the story at all."

But it is Winnie in Gerard Collins' "Hold Out" who speaks loudest by saying very little at all. The town is beyond dying, and residents are being offered $50,000 to leave. Only trouble is, it’s all or nothing. And Winnie won’t leave her home and her memories behind.

A good anthology is a cause for excitement among lovers of short stories and Hard Ol’ Spot — An Anthology of Atlantic Canadian Fiction is no exception. Heffernan’s collection showcases Atlantic short fiction at its best.

Mike Heffernan is the author of Rig: An Oral History of the Ocean Ranger Disaster. He lives in St. John’s.

Darren Whalen is a visual artist from Newfoundland. He lives in St. John’s.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Sometimes you see a movie that just hits you where you live. I just watched the movie “Once” and absolutely loved every single, quirky, music-loving, self-consciously shy and joyful moment of it.

A few years ago, not so many really, I took my guitar to a music studio downtown. I’d scrounged a few hundred dollars I really didn’t have and poured it into a couple of days at the studio, setting down tracks with just me and my guitar, singing a half dozen songs I’d written and thought were pretty good—mostly because friends, family, sometimes audience members, and the occasional music industry person told me were pretty good.

My songs were the only good thing about my music career really. I was a so-so singer with not much of a lower register and a higher register that was nobody’s darling, I’m sure. I was a good middle-range singer and a self-taught guitar player who should have taken some lessons.

But the songs. Ah, the songs. You could give me a topic, a word, a thought, a picture, and I’d write you a a strong melody, with a hook, and handsome lyrics at the drop of a loonie. Okay, no loonies involved, necessarily. Although, like the guy in “Once” who busks and sings his own songs only in the night time, I once played on a street corner in downtown St. John’s just so I’d know what it would feel like. F**ckin’ hard work. Constantly entertaining—or trying to. Constantly playing. Fingers getting sore. Strumming and singing against the wind. Nobody listening, not really. Sure, I made maybe fifty bucks or something like that for a morning’s work. I never did it again. But I learned a lifetime of lessons.

For a few years after that, I made my living with my guitar, singing with various bands, strumming to keep up, but the songs…ah, the songs. I wrote ‘em, I sang ‘em, and people would say, “Did you write that?” It was the moment I lived for.

That was the thing about the movie that got me: I remembered—no, felt and re-lived in my mind—that moment when the song was everything—that sense of urgency, of having to lay it down, get it out, get it right, and never think for a moment that no one would care about it or that it would never be recorded or nurtured or anything else. You only cared to sing the right note, to say the right word, to be brilliant in that very moment. To sound like music.

That’s creation at its finest, at least for an artist.

It’s a feeling I lived for. I still do that with my writing. I feel fortunate to have a book that’s coming out next year that someone actually wants to publish. Maybe someone will even read it.

But there’s nothing like that feeling of having to get it out, knowing it’s important because it matters to you and only you.

With music, every time you sing the song, there’s the chance for brilliance—for a moment that makes sense of the world even if all around you is chaotic shite. If you sing with someone else, all the better. The smile spreads slowly across the hard-lined face of the songwriter who hears his words on the lips of someone who gets it, who knows what it means, more or less, and who wants to sing it with you.

I miss that feeling. I crave it sometimes. There are times when I just know I’m going to pick up that guitar again soon and head down to a St. John’s recording studio, this time maybe with some real money in my pocket, and a band to back me up—a band who’s practiced and professional, who knows what you need and that what you need is for them to be in the moment, to love the song every bit as much as you do, except you know that they couldn’t possibly.

Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Not for fame or fortune. I’ve never done anything for those reasons. But for love. The pure joy of creating something from nothing and from seeing something through to the end.

Now that’s a movie.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Making it Big on the set of Doyle

So I made my big break on the new t.v. show The Republic of Doyle last night. You might have missed me, though, if you didn't know what to look for. Heck, I'm sure my own my mother didn't recognize me in that big penitentiary guard hat and fog-gray uniform.

I enjoyed the show and early reviews were fantastic, from the Globe and Mail and from family and friends. I hope the show gets picked up for another season because it means millions of dollars into the local economy and a lot of actors, background actors (like me!), technicians, make-up people, and tons of other people get some work they can depend on for a while.

St. John's has never looked more beautiful, except maybe on a sunny day in autumn, and I love that they imported sunshine from the mainland, much as they did with most of the primary actors who were posing as local. They did a great job, mind you--can't fault them on that. And it was good to see a lot of local people playing minor roles--Sean Panting as the lawyer, plus a few other familiar faces, and of course Bell Island's own Allan Hawco in the lead role. For someone who doesn't look or sound like the prototypical lead actor, he's making a fine living for himself, it would seem, just by being a pretty good actor. The writing was actually quite good for a first episode. These things, from what I know, usually take a while to gel, and there were some inspired moments that made me laugh out loud. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Oh, and as for my small role. If you look real close near the end when Shaun Majumner is entering (leaving?) a cell to meet with his father, the guard who lets him in (out?) is me. At first, you just see an extreme close-up of my cheek bone as I close the cell door. A few seconds later, you see me walking away in my over-sized hat that looks like it belongs on the head of an actor with a much larger head (I'm sure there are some).

While the part was small (there might be others as the season go on--it's hard to say how they edit these things), I was grateful to have made it on screen at all. They cut these scenes down to their barest, most essential bones so they only need a glimpse of, say, a guard to suggest the idea of a prison. Plus, there were nearly a dozen of us there that day as background actors and only two of us actually made it into the first episode. Hopefully, some of them will be seen throughout the season. They're good people who put in a long day's work that day. The whole thing was an enlightening and joyful experience that I hope to repeat many times, if the show gets picked up again. I kept having to turn them down over the past few months because of my teaching schedule. But if they shoot again this summer, I hope to be there.

Besides, a writer needs his experiences. I've already found the whole thing useful in writing my new novel called "Two Sisters" (almost finished).

Back to work.