So you can read my books

Wednesday, November 10, 2010



That is the question I've recently been asked by two blogging friends.

So I thought others might be asking the same question. So here is my answer :

All writers I believe write in the crosshairs.

If you have beta readers and have submitted to agents/editors, you know the feeling of being in the crosshairs of their evaluations.

Ouch. But no pain, no gain.

But I am thinking of the imagry of the hunter.

He fixes his aim at his target, looking through his scope. The image is hardly crisp at the beginning. He must adjust the lens to achieve crisp clarity and the best chance of hitting his target.

Writers are like that hunter.

At first the image of our tale is blurry. We tighten the focus with revealing dialogue, vibrant characters, engaging crises, and creative descriptions.

Pacing and plot tighten the image even more. Sometimes we get it with dead-on clarity. Most times we don't.

No one but Shakespeare is perfect.

If you don't believe me, ask Harold Bloom or any university English professor.

It is a tricky endeavor writing in the crosshairs.

How do we focus quicksilver humans into concrete mental images? Take flames.

They look like objects but are really processes. Humans are like that as well.

No human actually is complete. He or she is in the process of becoming.

But becoming what? We answer that question with our choices.

But there is more to my title than that. We all write the movie of our lives in the crosshairs. That endeavor is more tricky.

We don't get the luxury of time to reflect, muse, or ponder at leisure. Life is a harsh mistress.

As we struggle, she flashes us that "beauty-queen" smile : all sharp teeth and no heart. And in her games of chance, the House ultimately wins.

Like Indiana Jones we must make it up as we go along.

We plan and prepare. Life gleefully throws her monkey wrench into our preparations.

We must write our lives in the crosshairs of illness, accidents, dysfunctional humans, and our own inner demons.

We are all in Life's crosshairs, and none of us know when she will pull the trigger. We just know that she will.

This is what my blog is all about : how to maintain a measure of grace and peace in the crosshairs of Life. I haven't figured it out yet. Let me know what helps with you.

It is also about how to deal with the insanity of being an author. Insanity?

Yes. What reasonable person would like to become a city of demons, inhabited by protagonist, antagonist, and a host of shadowy secondary characters?

What sane person would spend the day and night, speaking in tongues? Tongues of hero, villain, and in-between?

It is true that the world seems to value most what is highly morbid. Yet the world is different than what it seems to be. And we are other than how we see ourselves. How then can we write well of others?

That is also what this blog is about.

The purpose of this blog is to remind us just how difficult it is to remain just one person, that most important person : ourselves -- true to the dream that inspires us.

That is the wonder of this blog, of all blogs really : our home is open; there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.

But so is it with our novels. My blog hopefully will help you learn to become a better host.

I am currently listening to "Mourning Tree" by Leaves' End. The romance of my haunted, undead Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord, and his immortal love, Meilori Shinseen, has echoes to it of the tragic love of Arwen and Aragorn. Here is a music video I think you may like :


  1. Roland, I love your different meanings for 'writing in the crosshairs'. They make so much sense.

    Love the music video too. Thanks.


  2. Jai : Thanks. Life and words have so many different layers to them. I'm glad you liked my personal defintions to "Writing In The Crosshairs." Have a great mid-week.

  3. I have been wondering what the title meant since the first time I stopped by. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great night.


  4. I love it! I was definitely thinking "getting caught in the crosshairs of life" when I read your blog title. So apt and a great topic. How do we achieve that balance? That is what I talked about for my last post when life definitely interfered with my writing plans and I had to decide what was more important. Great blog post! "How to maintain a measure of grace and peace." Something I am thinking about, and I will look forward to more of your insights. :)

  5. You are a gracious host Roland. I have enjoyed visiting your open house; especially when you have such beautiful music playing :)


  6. Flying High In The Sky : I'm happy you liked my post.

    Donna : It's good to know I've managed to put my action where my posts are and have been a gracious host. Wasn't that tune by Leaves'End beautiful?

    Emily : You have an engaging blog yourself. Thanks for enjoying my post. Don't be a stranger, hear?

    Jodi : Glad to have solved the puzzle of my title for you. Wish me luck I'm just about to embark on a long, late-night blood run. I hate being on call.

  7. I've always wondered about your blog title - thanks for sharing, Roland! As always, you're spot on with your posts.

  8. I'd like to know how you grind out such intricate posts on a continuing basis! Are you living in a universe where time is slowed and expanded, giving you the jump on us poor smucks who have to grapple with normal time?

  9. I am delighted to learn I had the correct interpretation of your title. A very insightful post, giving food for thought. Thank you.

  10. I always got the name of your blog. I'm not sure I could have verbalized or written it out, but I knew what you meant.

    There's an author (I forget the name, but it was a she-author) who said: Writing is like pulling your pants down in front of the world.

    I've always felt the crosshairs on me when I write, and I've never been quite sure which side of the scope I'm on. Both sides, maybe, because aren't we all both critic and writer.

    - Eric

  11. Fascinating. I had no idea. I am always transfixed on the intense blue eyes of the mysterious woman who graces the top of you blog. Who is she? What lies behind those mysterious eyes? I've always been more curious about her than the title. Perhaps in your next post you can give us hints to why she is there.


  12. Thanks for explaining, Roland! I was wondering about the genesis of the title. Very apt.

  13. You're always so poetic! I do enjoy your blog and feel that I learn a lot from you and your are an excellent host. =)

  14. Tali : Then my hunch was right. I'm glad you enjoyed the genesis of my title. Thanks.

    Michael : No photograph can truly resemble someone else you know. Still, this model in my title most closely resembles my fiancee who waits for me in that land that knows no shadows.

    All the women in my fiction are but echoes of Katherine. I once asked her : You're so beautiful inside and out. What do you see in me?"

    Her answer : "You can only ask that because you don't see "you" with my eyes."

    As I still sometimes feel her eyes on me, I put her "eyes" hovering over my blog. (The fire took all my photographs of her.)

    Eric : I felt you'd be the one to "get" the meaning of my blog. And, like you, I think we authors are on both sides of the scope.

    Ann : I never had any doubt you'd also see the reasoning of my title. Thanks for liking my post.

    Laura : Time is beginning to gain on me. I fear the weekend posts may have to go as Victor Standish is demanding my time to do justice to his adventures.

    Jules : Thank you. I'm heading over there now.

    Elena : Your comment lifted my spirits. Thanks.

  15. Raquel : Thanks. I think we as writers are in love with language. Words sing to us in the night. And sometimes in the day, too. I always feel the better for you dropping in.

  16. a fan of your writing, I'd pretty much figured out your reasoning behind the title...but the blue-eyed vixen greeting us at the top of your page had me stumped...until now:)

    We're all writing in the crosshairs...writing and living as best we can.


  17. Wonderful! I love your take on life's crosshairs. I'd been wondering why you called the blog that myself. Yep, you pretty much captured life. Thanks for sharing yours. ;-)

  18. Elliot : I knew you would understand the title. Wish me luck : Andrea Somberg responded to my query by asking for the first five pages of FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. It's only five pages, mind you. But a nibble from an agent in these dark times is something to feel good about.

  19. I also had a pretty good grasp of the title but I loved hearing your own thoughts on it...To thine own self be true. I also think about that a lot in my writing, especially when I think, oh no, one will approve of my maverick ways.

    But I think my MC, Gardner, being of a different sex and from a different time, helps me to be me. If that makes any sense?

  20. Terry : Yes, it does. Victor Standish has more brass and bravery than I do so I can get lost in his character for the moment. Samuel McCord is the reflective philosopher in violent times that I often find myself in -- and again I can express myself in him. So long answer to say, yes, I understand.

  21. Such an eloquent definition! I wish I could write like this!!

  22. Ann : Sometimes simply put prose has a lyrical elegance all its own. I've read your blog. Your prose has that quality.