Blue Website! New Talk!

Exclamation-point worthy news: At long last, my redesigned website is up and running!

(That sentence is your signal to click on over to to see the new layout. I'll give you a second.)

Okay. Hooray! The beautiful, bright new design is by my friend John Noe of the Leaky Cauldron, and incorporates my favorite Tudor Rose emblem (sign of my membership in the sacred siblinghood of English majors) as well as an easy-to-use navigation bar. If you took that opening-page invitation to poke around, you'll know that most of the navbar links don't work yet, the book covers for the slideshow need to be resized, and neither the majority of the talks nor my submission guidelines are up at present. But I'll be adding these things over the next few weeks, so please check back occasionally to see what's new. And my blog, for the record, will continue to reside here at, so please don't change your bookmarks to that other address.

To celebrate the redesigned site, I put up a new talk as well: the "Springing Surprises" speech I wrote but did not deliver in full at the Vermont College Novel Writers' Retreat. That talk made me think a lot about effects in writing . . . the way a writer can use surprises, or spacing, or the pacing even in a particular paragraph, to focus or distract the reader's emotional attention and thereby achieve the writer's emotional aims, the same way a movie director can blow up a truck to make the audience go "Oooh!" I don't know that I have anything more to say about this now than what I say here, but I'm interested in tracking cool techniques/effects for use in a future talk, maybe. . . . Let me know if you see any worthy of note.