Ruminations on Miscon

….it was amazing.

Dear friends, family, and fans, thank you for your incredible support at Miscon this weekend! “The Puller” had a record signing, and I was thrilled to be on ballroom panels with authors like Christopher Paolini and and Todd Lockwood. I cannot thank you all enough. Your support of my art is crucial.

Best,

-Michael

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The Dry Lake

It’s almost been one year since I moved to the great state of Montana.

Living here has always been a dream of mine. I love the space, the majestic variety of megafauna, the forested slopes and the clear streams.

It’s been great for my writing career. I launched my debut novel in the friendly arts town of Missoula, and the media was supportive. Along with the debut novel, I scored a Hollywood movie deal.

However, it hasn’t exactly been good for my writing. While in the Chicago suburbs, I felt the crush of overpopulation, of 10 million people bearing down on me. I saw nothing but endless strip malls and too many cars to count. This crush propelled an anxiousness that produced eight novels…most about trapped people (not surprising).

But Montana removed all that, and therefore my “inspiration”. I don’t feel trapped here. I don’t feel squeezed in. Even on Brooks and Reserve I can see the Lolo National Forest. Lesser national forests are six hours from Chicago. This acts as a release valve, and I don’t feel as compelled to sit down at the keyboard like I used to.

Until now.

This past week, I started a new novel called “Dry Lake”. It’s based in Missoula, as it should be. A long time ago Missoula was an enormous lake, but no more.

Sometimes things come back….

The Mission Mountains

Okay, I admit it: I’ve become horribly spoiled since moving to Missoula from Chicago. This scene, which I filmed yesterday is a mere 40 minutes from my town home in the South Hills.

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This is unprecedented for me. Sure, I’m used to camping for weeks at a time in the Rockies, but to actually live there, wake up one morning and decide to visit a place like this is simply not possible in Chicagoland.

The Mission Mountains are perhaps the most majestic range in the Rockies. While not the tallest mountains (McDonald Peak tops out at 9,820 feet), the valley-to-peak ratio is almost 7,000 feet…and no foothills. Few ranges in the lower 48 can compete with this.

Not only are the Missions stunning, but they boast a rich tapestry of megafauna like grizzly bears, wolverine, and lynx (although trappers are doing their best to hammer the wolverine and lynx populations).

I did not want to leave this scene. At all. However, I was comforted by the fact that yeah, I now live here. I guess, deep inside, this has always been my home. But now my body rises and sleeps beneath the peaks.

—————-

Stay tuned for a writing update. It’s a big one.

Comments

Hey everyone, I want to apologize for the comment box issues the past year. I was alerted to the problem from a kind friend this evening. For a year I’d been receiving blank comment notifications in my email. I assumed these were spam comments.

They were not.

It turns out the database was corrupt. After a database repair this evening. all comments have been restored as well as comment function.

Again, sorry for the frustration and thanks for stopping by!

There’s exciting news coming (like, a day or two), so stick around.

Best,

-Michael

Top 10 gifts for the writer in your life

The holidays are slowly approaching. Halloween is by far the best, but we won’t get into that here. With that in mind, let’s take a look at choice gifts for the writer in your life.

Now, I’m not insinuating that I personally want any of these things. That would be greedy and wrong. ;)

10. Netflix subscription. Writers often have odd schedules. I’m one of them. I also don’t watch a lot of television. So when I do, I like to pick and choose. The no-commerical status of Netlifx preserves the mind and soul, too. This is a great way to unwind from constant reading and research.

9. A Kindle or Nook. Hardcover purists would scoff at this, but you can fit a hell of a lot of books onto one.
Furthermore, Kindle/Nooks are the perfect device for those with slight and not-so-slight OCD tendencies (clutter). I prefer the older E-ink versions to the Fire.

8. A gas card. Eventually, even writers need to go outside. Hopefully it’s someplace beautiful and not the local strip mall. Road trips feed the imagination.

7. Vicodin. These good-time super pills will have your beloved writer shedding manuscripts like leaves from an October maple. Aches and pains interfering with your immersion? Gone. Normally tired after 2,000 words. Ha! Let’s go another 2k, pardner’. Pick and choose your spots, though, or these little white devils will have your ass faster than you can delete a form rejection.

6. Red Bull/Green Tea/Coffee. Yes. I know some prefer chocolate, but as writers we spend way too much time sitting on our ass, so low-cal boosts are superior.

5. Music. Lots of music. Check Rate Your Music for exceptional (and quite possibly definitive) all-time and year-end lists.

4. Something to play music. An iPod. Or Neil Young’s new Pono player. Even better, a CD player and head unit that plays actual CD’s. Or vinyl.

3. Microsoft Word. It’s still the best.

2. Final Draft. For the screenwriter in your life.

1. A real computer monitor. Too many writers are stuck using 13 inch TN panel laptops. TN panels do not have a stable image. Even moving your head an inch causes severe color shift and contrast issues. Some writers even use iPads (a true horror story). No. Just no. Do your favorite writer a favor and splurge on a decent IPS panel. I recommend the Asus PA248Q. The Asus comes calibrated from the factory, has no viewing angle issues, and even connects to most laptops via HDMI and DVI.