June '21


Hello there!

Welcome to the new folks who have joined in the past month.

A few quick notes upfront:

  • All previous newsletters are archived. Lots of stuff to check out including a link to the original 2011 screenplay of THE BLACK SKY, hints and helps to get started on the real work easter egg hunt teased at the back of the book, and more!

  • If you read and enjoyed THE BLACK SKY, I would be grateful if you left a positive review or a rating at Amazon or GoodReads.

  • There’s a “music inspired by” soundtrack you can listen to at your favorite streaming sites like SpotifyApple MusicTIDAL, etc. If you prefer physical media, you can also grab the album on a compact disc at Bandcamp.

  • For those that have read THE BLACK SKY, you may remember a mention or two of a bar called “The Dank,” the place Tessa worked at in college where she and Bishop met. I created a virtual playlist for this “punk rock bar,” which you can check out on Spotify. (Hint: this isn’t the last time you’ll be hearing about The Dank in a book)



Yard is booming with blooms. Plus, our peach tree is looking good, and for the first time, our strawberry plants are sprouting like crazy.


THE RED SKY is moving along nicely. My move to Scrivener has helped me think through and move plot points to maximize suspense and thrills. Since each scene is written as a separate text doc, I can easily rearrange and see how the narrative changes by swapping scenes. Like with THE BLACK SKY, it’s multi-perspective with several storylines occurring simultaneously, so being able to keep track of everything, along with integrating visual aids, is useful. I’ve hit the 30,000-word mark and planning a big push in June to get to 50,000.

Also, I made this. Equal parts motivation and goal setting.

In case you didn’t know, I keep a board on Pinterest for inspiration. It helps me consider how characters interact with the world around them if I can visualize it. Here are some images I’ve used for inspiration:

For THE RED SKY playlist on Spotify, I didn’t add anything. But I did spend a lot of time with this Ambient Soundscapes playlist while writing. Most of the recent scenes were not action, so I needed chill background music when working.


THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD by John le Carré - Not my first le Carré book, but first of the George Smiley series. What can I say that hasn't already been said. It's a classic: taught and thrilling with pages of back-and-forth dialogue that slowly ratchet up the tension and suspense.

DURAN DURAN’S RIO by Annie Zaleski - Writer (and former Dig Me Out guest) Annie Zaleski dives deep into the creation and history of 1982's Rio by Duran Duran for the Bloomsbury 33 1/3 album series. Zaleski paints a vivid and detailed look at all aspects of Rio, from the creation on the heels of Duran Duran's 1981 debut to the various industries and technologies making strides and changes, such as MTV, rock radio formats, and VCR mass availability. The research dives deep into the mysterious world of remixes and multiple formats, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how a band from the UK "breaks" in America. Most importantly, the band themselves are given proper due as the songwriters, creative visionaries, and cultural influences that have only grown more respected with time. The format of the 33 1/3 book keeps them to less than 150 pages, but Zaleski's deep dive could have easily warranted an even longer length.


  • LUCIFER, S.3 & 4 (Netflix) - Season three was an oddly long season with some overly long arcs, but still entertaining. Season four was better if a bit aimless.

  • MR. ROBOT, S.4 (Amazon) - Proper send-off for a weird and challenging show.

  • TENET (HBOMax) - Mind-bending plotting and action with zero character development.

  • AVA (Netflix) - By the numbers assassin revenge thriller without any thrills or originality.

  • WITHOUT REMORSE (Amazon) - By the numbers action movie with a few interesting sequences.

  • BLACK MIRROR S.3 (Netflix) - Been slowly making my way through this, as the grim and dark stories require a breather between each.

  • ARMY OF THE DEAD (Netflix) - A zombie heist movie is a cool idea, but it was too slow and long, and the constant out-of-focus/blurry backgrounds drove me nuts.

  • LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS S.2 (Netflix) - Shorter than the first season, but still fun and interesting short stories.

  • SHADOW AND BONE (Netflix) - A fun and exciting first season. Lots of familiar young-adult/fantasy tropes, but well done. Here’s the trailer if you haven’t checked it out.


What are you watching, reading, listening to at the moment?

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Stay Safe!