Category Archives: Guest Posts

Three Tips For Writing Compelling Dialogue by Rita M. Reali

Photo by Julia Kicova on Unsplash

When folks in the writers group I belong to comment on the work I submit each month, the most frequent comments I hear are how spot-on my dialogue is, how I seem to have captured the essence of each character through his or her words, and how the dialogue really rings true.

I’m often asked how I manage to write such realistic and compelling dialogue. It boils down to a few key elements, which I’ll share with you here.

First, it’s important to realize how real people speak. You probably wouldn’t ever hear anyone have this conversation:

“Where are you going this weekend?”
“I am not sure where I am going this weekend. I think I might go up to the mountains. They are really pretty at this time of year.”
“Yes. I understand the mountains are pretty this time of year.”
“I would also like to stop in to see my cousin. She is going to be having surgery next week and she is pretty nervous. So I thought I would pay her a visit.”
“That is nice of you. You are always so considerate.”

This exchange is stilted and awkward. Folks just don’t talk that way. If you listen to conversations around you, you’ll realize people tend to use contractions – and speak in sentence fragments. A lot. Here’s how this bit of conversation would sound if two real people were having it:

“Where you going this weekend?”
“Dunno. Maybe the mountains – they’re really pretty this time of year.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that.”
“I’ll probably stop in to visit my cousin, too. She’s pretty nervous about her surgery next week.”
“That’s nice of you. You’re always so considerate.”

It’s 50 percent shorter, it’s more direct and it sounds more natural. People rarely reply to questions with full sentences – or by including the wording of the original question; they respond in fragments. I also used contractions. Not including contractions in speech sounds wooden and unnatural.

Second, be aware of what your characters are doing while they’re speaking. Include beats that give readers a visual on what’s happening. Here’s part of an exchange between two characters in my work in progress, Brothers by Betrayal. Gary is talking with Erin, his teenage daughter, who’s been grounded for two weeks (but who wants to go out with her friends for her birthday tomorrow):

Gary leaned against the doorjamb, his arms folded. “Look, Erin, you keep saying you want me to treat you like an adult. Then act like one. Children whine. Grownups accept the consequences of their actions without complaining.”
“But it’s not fair.”
He shook his head. “I’m done discussing this, Erin. I told you no and that’s final.”
“But Daddy…” she whined.
“Punkin, I gotta be up early in the morning. I’m going to bed. Talk to me again on Monday.”
“But the party’s tomorrow night.”
“I’m aware of that. And we’ve already established you’re not going.”
Erin thrust her lower lip out in a pout. She kicked at the leg of her desk. “Then what’s the point of talking on Monday?”
Gary gave a weary sigh and shoved away from the doorjamb. “I’m not having this discussion with you now, Erin. Goodnight.”

Note the absence of “he said” and “she said.” The only attribution is “she whined,” which tells the reader how the line gets delivered. The rest of the excerpt uses beats – snippets of narrative that precede, follow or are interwoven amid dialogue – to clue readers in to action taking place with the dialogue. Sometimes, when action is concurrent with dialogue, the author will interrupt the dialogue with a beat. Like this:

Inside, Gary approached Paula G., the woman who was serving as leader for the meeting. “Hi Paula, I’m Gary” – he laid his hands on the teen’s shoulders – “and this is my daughter Erin. This is her first meeting.”

I tend to get pushback from the writers group denizens about my use of en dashes with spaces to offset beats within dialogue. As it turns out, it’s a U.K. style. U.S. style favors em dashes (—) with no spaces. For a fine discourse on use of the various dashes (en, em and 2em) in your writing, read this blog post.

Third, run your dialogue aloud to hear the cadence of the words instead of simply seeing them in print. Often, we write what we think we want our characters to say, only to find, when reading it aloud, it’s clunky or awkward. And if it sounds off to you, think how it’ll sound in your readers’ heads. And no matter how fond you may be of a bit of dialogue, sometimes it has to go. The difference between a good writer and a great writer is often the willingness to excise those bits of dialogue that don’t sound right or advance the story.

For more tips on ways to improve your dialogue, check out this helpful article from the folks at Writer’s Digest.

When you’re tackling a tough bit of dialogue, what advice do you find works best for you?


Author and Editor Rita M Reali

Rita M. Reali is an international award-winning author and longtime editor who most enjoys editing memoir, general fiction and romance, along with inspirational writing. She’s self-published four novels: Glimpse of EmeraldDiagnosis: LoveThe Unintended Hero and Second Chances – the first four in the seven-volume Sheldon Family Saga. Her fifth novel, Tender Mercies, is due out this June. As a former disc jockey in her native Connecticut, Rita used to spend her days “talking to people who weren’t there” – a skill which transferred perfectly to her being an author. Now she talks to characters who aren’t there on “a little chunk of heaven in rural Tennessee.” Contact Rita.

Rita Reali Books

Creating Credible Characters by Valerie Holmes

Photo by Dave Lowe on Unsplash

No matter what genre of novel a writer creates, a protagonist lies at its heart. Whether an alien, a mythical beast, or a human the reader will want to connect with them. Why else would they continue to read on to discover what path and challenges are ahead? In a romance it is the two main characters that take centre stage as their relationship forms, is thwarted but ultimately endures. In other genres the reader may follow a single protagonist to a satisfactory, if not, a happy ending.

The writer’s aim is to convince the reader to believe in these characters. The protagonist is at the centre of everything; they need to be credible and believable, even if they are not plausible in the realm of our own world.

Every action and decision they make must be convincing. As author’s we want the readers to experience events through this main character(s) eyes: joy, fear, exhilaration, disappointment and hopefully success. They have faced challenges and overcome the barriers that were placed in their way by well thought out plots.

Empathy for them, once developed, should lead to pages turned and future books read – especially, in the case of a series.

To achieve this, a writer must know their characters intimately so that everything they do, think, and say will support the developed plot, enhanced by the skilfully written detail of setting – the world that the protagonist and the cast of characters inhabit.

If you think of these characters as real people and develop profiles for each, the protagonist’s profile will be more detailed than minor characters, although they still need to respond and react true to type, therefore, the author must be well versed in the ‘type’ of character they are.

Your profile should cover the basics: physical aspects, appearance, age, height etc.

But then dig deeper: –

What is their emotional state?

What is their unique back-story that led to them being the person (or alien) they are now?

What family/friends/ associates/colleagues do they interact with?
Are any of these toxic?

What goals do they have and what stands in their way?

Nobody is perfect so what flaws do they have?

Are they haunted by the past or motivated by their potential future?

Do they crave love, are they driven by a quest, or seek to save the world?

What are they uniquely good at?

What would make them act out of character?

What are their loves/hates?

Do they have vulnerabilities or insecurities?

Do they have secrets and, if so, what would happen if they were discovered?

How do they change and grow as a result of the events they face throughout the plot?


All these questions will help define the characters so that their reactions, actions, and interactions will flow smoothly and make them live on the page.

Whether they are asked of the protagonist or antagonist, or supporting characters, this is valuable background information that will add depth to your writing when the knowledge is applied to their interactions.
At all costs avoid stereotypes, they will not work and may offend the reader.

When the protagonist first appears make their entrance count. They must appeal, interest, or intrigue your reader so that they continue to follow the story.

What is it about them that captures attention? Is it their appearance, attitude, intelligence, or a unique feature that makes them stand out?
Once the characters have been created then they can be let loose on the pages of your manuscript as the novel takes shape. Structure, plot, and pace are essential, but without believable characters that convince, hook, and delight the reader there will be no life and depth to the story.
Everything they say and do should show the kind of character they are. Props can be used to embellish this process, if they add something to their development and the use of which aids the core plot move forward.
Whatever details the author knows about a character, it will be more than need ever be shared on the page. Exposition – description and ‘info-dumps’ – should be avoided as they slow down the pace of the plot, so only feed information to the reader on a need-to-know basis; instead, use this valuable background knowledge to breathe life into your characters’ thoughts, words, and deeds.

If the characters created feel real to the author, then they will to the readers of the novel, which is the essence of successful and memorable fiction.


Author Valerie Holmes

Valerie’s love of writing and creating stories began in her childhood. Now, as an established author she loves sharing that love by tutoring students in the art of creative writing. Her career to date spans 5 novels, 46 novellas and working as a tutor for the London School of Journalism, Writing Magazine and independently via:

www.ValerieHolmesAuthor.com

Her romantic adventures are mainly set in her beloved home county of North Yorkshire in northeast England. It is an area of majestic moors, rugged coastline, and beautiful market towns of Whitby, Northallerton and Harrogate and historic York. The early nineteenth century (Regency) was a period of huge social inequality and change, smuggling, espionage, and industrial innovations that all served to add drama to many of her romantic adventures.

Valerie’s work has been compared to romantic classics: ‘Wuthering Heights meets Poldark.’ Romance with a darker touch of mystery added.

Recent publications: Betrayal and The Baronet’s Prize now available on Amazon and KindleUnlimited.

When not working Valerie loves to walk in the countryside with her two loyal spaniels, bake, research historic locations, and travel broadly with family and friends.

www.ValerieHolmesAuthor.com (10% discount off fees if you quote this article)

INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


Revise! Revise! Revise! by Vivan Zabel

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

For the past ten years I’ve read and heard, “Don’t do any revising or editing until you have finished writing the whole story or book.”

What! That goes against common sense and everything I’ve learned in all the years I’ve studied, have written, have taught, and have read. The reasons I disagree are several, but a main one (and I’ve seen examples of this too many times) is if an author waits until after he finishes and then changes something toward the start, he often forgets a later part of the story affected by the change but not adjusted. A story develops from the beginning to end, and once written, any change at the beginning makes differences later in the piece, changes that are easy to miss. Thus cohesion and coherence become weak and faulty.

I know some “writers” who think any major editing should be done by an editor. Let me share something I found in the August issue of The Writer. According to Sam McCarver, the author of six John Darnell mystery novels,    

In the time-intensive world of publishing, you may have only one opportunity to intrigue an editor with your writing, your main character and your story. And you must often do than within pages – or the first few sentences – of your manuscript.

 Editors are pressed for time and very perceptive in identifying good writing, interesting characters and gripping stories, so they move fast through  your pages.

McCarver goes on to say that an author must write the best story or novel possible: edit it, polish it, enhance it. Then he should read and make final changes – all before ever allowing anyone else to read it. Yes, before allowing anyone else to read an manuscript, the author should have spent hours improving a rough draft.

Writing a story or novel is only half the job: Revising is the other half, a most important half, of writing. Ernest Hemingway, E.B. White, F. Scott Fitzgerald all admitted the need to revise and rewrite. Hemingway admitted he cut as he wrote, yet, he would take weeks to revise a book.

McCarver’s article “How to revise your FICTION” gives eight steps for editing a person’s work. I happen to agree with his points, especially the one which states that delaying all editing until the manuscript is finished is a mistake.

However, let’s examine this author’s ideas, as well as those expounded in many composition text books and believed by me:

1. Accept revising as the other half of writing. E.B. White stated that the best writing is rewriting.

2. Adopt good editing procedures. To produce a better first draft, one should begin revising with the first word written, making improvements as he goes. As a writer completes a day’s production, he should study what’s on the screen, if using a computer. If he sees a need for any changes, he should make them while they are fresh in his mind.. Then he should print what is finished.

 According to Chang-rae Lee, winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, he tries to polish as he goes because what leads him to the next sentence is the sentence before. “I find that it’s hard to move on unless I’ve really understood what’s happening, what comes before and where it’s heading.”

3. Review printed pages. Writers should print out the pages finished and set them aside to “cool.” Then they should read the printout with a pen in hand, noting corrections or revisions that will improve the writing. After making changes on the computer, writers should reprint the pages, adding to the pile of finished pages. Each day’s, or period’s, work should be the same: writing, rereading, editing, and making changes as one goes.

4. Identify errors and correct them. According to McCarver, three procedures are critical in the revision process: correcting mistakes, improving content, and enhancing the story.

The first attention needs to go to spelling and punctuation errors, typos, grammatical mistakes, and inconsistencies in tense or point of view. Although such mistakes may seem minor to the author, editors expect manuscripts to be virtually free of any errors.

5. Improve content. “What you say and how you say it also must be polished to the best of your ability,” states McCarver. “Improving content also includes considering the structure and sharpening your word choice,” as well as re-examining characters for consistency, making sure the plot hangs together, that scenes are compelling and dialogue natural, and that all loose ends are tied up.

 Word choice is a topic for another editorial, but it is a vital part of good writing.

6. Concentrate on enhancement. Enhancement goes beyond making corrections and improving content and style: It means increasing the quality and impact of the writing. A techniques given by McCarver are as follows:

 * Inserting foreshadowing for greater event impact later.       
* Increasing the emotion in dialogue and thoughts in scenes.       
* Adding or strengthening subplots.       
* Intensifying the consequences of actions and events.       
* Adding twists to the plot.       
* Shortening flashbacks, if used, and including action in them.       
* Making characters seem more real, depicting their actions, dialogue and thoughts more naturally and powerfully.


7. Do that final revision. After finishing the whole manuscript, revise again.

8. Take one last look. After revising the complete manuscript again, the author should reread the printed pages before mailing them or sending a query letter. All errors and last minute changes should be made.

All authors want to impress editors by providing a story that the editors cannot put down. Each author, through a manuscript, has only one chance to make a great first impression.

Note: “How to revise your FICTION” by Sam McCarver in The Writer, August, 2005, provided research material for this editorial as did several composition text books and notes from my files.


Vivian Zabel, former English and writing teacher, heads 4RV Publishing. She studied the art of writing for years and is now a professional editor and award-winning author of children’s, young adult, and fiction books.
Vivian often presents workshops and sessions at conferences around the nation, including the Alaska Writers Conference and the OWFI conference. She has been a member of OWFI since 2002 and the OWFI Grant Director since 2012. She was honored as the Lifetime Member in 2013.

At present, 4RV Publishing needs submissions in fantasy, science fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, and other genres for the following imprints: tweens and teens, young adult, and fiction, as well as for other well-written books for all ages, fiction and nonfiction. Details concerning genre and details of standards and guidelines can be found at the following website: http://4rvpublishing.com/manuscript-submissions.php .

Three Steps to NaNoWriMo Success by Jennifer Allis Provost

Nanowrimo Awaits!
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Hello, readers and writers! November is just around the corner, which means you only have a few days left to finalize your NaNoWriMo plan of attack. You can do so by using three easy but helpful methods: researching, outlining, and creating a few character profiles.

Plan NaNo, you say? But I never plan Nano! I just open up a Word document and pound the keyboard until I’m done! Or pass out, whichever comes first.

Well, that’s certainly a method, but remember that the goal of NaNo isn’t just to write 50k words, but words that create some sort of cohesive story. While you can write anything and win, why not put those 50k words toward advancing your writing career? A complete first draft (remember: a first draft does not equal a submission-quality or publishable draft) within 30 days is absolutely achievable. All you need is a bit of planning.

I am a huge fan of NaNoWriMo, and have been participating for years. Two of my NaNo projects went on to become published novels, and I’ve used other years to make significant headway on sequels. However, last year’s NaNo was an epic fail on my part, and it was because I didn’t follow the three steps.

My main story idea was set and I’d done a bit of outlining and research, but not nearly enough. I also hadn’t completed a single character profile. (Character profiles don’t have to be long. Start with name, objective, and obstacles to achieving the objective.) It wasn’t long before the story had gone so far off the rails there was no way I could fix it in 30 days. In fact, I haven’t fixed it to date, and I have no idea if I ever will. That’s a shame, because it was a project I’d wanted to work on for a few years, and I had high hopes for it.

But this year will be different! This year’s project will be set in Scotland, and has a smattering of Picts and a Roman legion thrown in for good measure, and I’ve done my homework. I stocked up on travel guides of Glasgow, a few books on the ancient Roman military, and watched an interesting if maybe not completely factual documentary on the Picts. (What can I say, it was free on Amazon Prime.) I sketched out a rough outline so I know where my characters are going, how they get there, and what the ultimate goal is for each one of them. This time around I’m confident that even if I don’t have a finished story by November 30, I will at least have my fifty thousand words in.

Fifty thousand good words, that is.

But it’s almost November! How could anyone still have time to research? Fear not, because one of the great secrets of writing is that you don’t have to do all your research beforehand. What you need is enough to get your story going, put your foot in the door so to speak, and let the story unroll from there. I fully intend to consult my Scottish travel guides and books on Roman legions several times over the next few weeks, and who knows how many times I’ll hit up the internet for answers. I probably won’t re-watch the documentary on the Picts.

To sum up, the three basic steps to NaNoWriMo success are:

Research – Then do some more research, ask a librarian for help, and maybe book a trip to visit any real-life locations. Really, you’re not going to get too much information so go all in.

Outline – A nice detailed outline is key. One incorporating the classic three act structure would be ideal, but all you really need is a strong map to follow along. Think of it like you’re downloading the newest map software onto your Garmin, as opposed to using a paper map printed in 1952.

Character Profiles – Who’s the protagonist? Antagonist? What do they want? What are the stakes? What will happen if they don’t get what they want? Again, you cannot have too much information.

Will these steps work for you? That I can’t answer, but they have worked for me in the past. Hopefully they’ll work their magic again this year. I bet they’ll work for you, too. Have fun, and happy writing!

Author Jennifer Allis ProvostJennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library.) An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Visit her at www.authorjenniferallisprovost.com

Writer’s Writing Rules by Max Griffin

Ray Bradbury once said, “I don’t tell anyone how to write and no one tells me.” Yet, when pressed, he produced eight “rules” for successful authors.

In fact, if you Google your favorite author together with “writing rules,” you’re likely to discover links to that author’s answer to the question, “What are your rules for writing success?” Try it. I found rules that ran from two items for Robert Heinlein to twenty-four for Dashiell Hammett. That may say something about their respective styles, or maybe about how much self-reflection went into their writing, or something else. But still, there is some wisdom to be garnered by looking at these lists.

Not all Writing Rules are equal. Hammett’s, for example, are detailed, but in such a way that they apply primarily to detective novels of his era. Here’s his first rule, for example:

There was an automatic revolver, the Webley-Fosbery, made in England some years ago. The ordinary automatic pistol, however, is not a revolver. A pistol, to be a revolver, must have something on it that revolves.

This is interesting, but it’s not exactly advice. Of course, the point is that authors shouldn’t confuse a “pistol” with a “revolver.” More generally, authors should use technical terms in an accurate way. This more general form of the rule would include, for example, don’t confuse a unit of distance, like “parsec,” with a unit of time, like how long it takes to make a journey.

At the other end are Heinlein’s two rules.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.

These certainly clear, and they apply to all authors and all genres. But they are so general as to be useless. For example, they don’t tell you how often or how much you should write, nor how to know you’ve finished. He eventually expanded this to five rules, including that you should never rewrite except to editorial order, but even that is not specific enough to be helpful. We also know, from the correspondence in Grumbles from the Grave, that he in fact did cut his manuscripts, which is certainly revision.

Tom Clancy proposed five rules.

1. Tell the story.
2. Writing is like golf.
3. Make pretend more than real.
4. Writer’s block is unacceptable.
5. No one can take your dream away.

What? Like golf? What he means is that if you aspire to become a golfer, you practice. You might even take lessons from a pro. What you don’t do is read a book on how to play golf, or watch people playing golf, and then think you know the sport. You learn by doing. With respect to rule three, Clancy once opined, “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” That’s one way to make fiction more than real. For rule four, he clarifies that he means to write every day, whether you feel like it or not. Treat writing as a job. Finally, in rule five he says don’t let naysayers destroy your dreams. This is all good advice. Remember, J.K. Rowling went through twenty rejections for the first Harry Potter book before she found a publisher.

Hemingway proposed four rules.

1. Use short sentences.
2. Use short first paragraphs.
3. Use vigorous English.
4. Be positive, not negative.

These give clear instructions. They provide a basis for writing and revision. Anyone who has read Hemingway could deduce the first three rules. The last rule is the only one that might require some explanation. In rule four, he means describe what something is, not what it is notHe does not mean “be Pollyanna.”

The main problem with Hemmingway’s set of rules is that they are incomplete. Of course, any set of rules for writing is likely to share this flaw, but there are sets of rules that both serve as practical guides and are more comprehensive.

Kurt Vonnegut produced eight rules for short story authors, but they have value for novelists as well.

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible.

To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

I’ve gotten particular inspiration from rules two, three, and four on this list. Write at least one character readers will cheer for, give every character a goal, and always advance character and plot. If you can follow these three rules, you’ve got a leg up on a good story.

Elmore Leonard also produced a succinct set of rules.

1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Again, these are clear rules, things you can bring to the page as you write.

Raymond Chandler gave us many amazing mysteries, but he also wrote advice on a what makes a good murder mystery:

1. It must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and the dénouement.
2. It must be technically sound as to the methods of murder and detection.
3. It must be realistic in character, setting and atmosphere. It must be about real people in a real world.
4. It must have a sound story value apart from the mystery element: i.e., the investigation itself must be an adventure worth reading.
5. It must have enough essential simplicity to be explained easily when the time comes.
6. It must baffle a reasonably intelligent reader.
7. The solution must seem inevitable once revealed.
8. It must not try to do everything at once. If it is a puzzle story operating in a rather cool, reasonable atmosphere, it cannot also be a violent adventure or a passionate romance.
9. It must punish the criminal in one way or another, not necessarily by operation of the law…. If the detective fails to resolve the consequences of the crime, the story is an unresolved chord and leaves irritation behind it.
10. It must be honest with the reader.

I like these rules because they easily generalize to other genres. For example, change a word here and there and you’ve got a guide for a good science fiction story.

Stephen King has given us twenty writing rules. These are also quite good, and replicate some of the advice above, especially about adverbs and leaving out the boring bits. King also takes the interesting view that writing is like archeology in that you are discovering your fictional world as you write, much like an archeologist discovers, potsherd by potsherd, a village in ancient Mesopotamia, Mongolia, or Mesoamerica.

Can we find truth in these writing rules? Sure. There’s the truth about how these individual authors view writing. There’s truth in that there is some agreement between this diverse set of authors, although agreement doesn’t necessarily imply a deeper truth. But there’s truth in the diversity of opinion, too. Each of these successful authors found their own truth. If you want to be successful, you have to find yours, too.

Isaac Newton wrote, “”If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” As you seek your own truth, you can build on the shoulders of these authors. Starting with their wisdom, find your own truth.

References

You can find the Writing Rules mentioned above in various sources. Here are the ones I used.

Ray Bradbury
Raymond Chandler
Tom Clancy
Dashiell Hammett
Robert A Heinlein
Ernest Hemingway
Stephen King
Elmore Leonard
Kurt Vonnegut



When Max Wore a Younger Man’s Clothes


Max writes horror and science fiction stories, often with a dark twist. John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction is the single most important influence on his thinking about the craft of writing. Authors as diverse as John Updike, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Lawrence Block inspire and inform his literary style.

Max Griffin is the pen name of a mathematician and academic. He has retired from his positions at a major university in the Southwest. He is the proud parent of a daughter who is a librarian, and the grandparent to two beautiful little boys. Max is blessed to be in a long-term relationship with his life partner, Mr. Gene, who is an expert knitter. To learn more about Max Griffin, please visit: https://new.maxgriffin.net/