Write Answers

Write Answers

I try never to give people advice about writing. It seems presumptuous at best, but worse, it implies there is a right way to write.

There isn’t.

So my first piece of advice about writing is to ignore anyone who tells you there is a correct way to write (especially the hag at the front of your English classroom who thinks spelling, punctuation and diagramming sentences are more important than creativity and storytelling). But beyond that, I don’t believe that any two of my works got written the same way so I can’t imagine that trying to emulate someone else’s technique would be productive. I don’t believe any writer who says that any two books of theirs were written in exactly the same way. They might have been, but I can’t believe it unless all their books are just alike in which case I don’t want their advice.

I’m also leery of those people who make writing sound like this awful, painful, excruciating chore. They whinge on and on about how hard it is. How they throw out most of what they commit to the page. How nothing is good enough and how writing is the most arduous soul destroying career one could choose. My advice to them, offered freely, is “If you hate writing that much, you’re in the wrong business.” Either that, or they’ve taken someone else’s advice about the right way to write and are making themselves miserable by denying their own process and allowing that to change, evolve and grow with each page and word they write.

To be fair, I do always tell people who are considering writing or any artistic, creative or entertainment related profession the same thing. If you can do anything else and be happy, do anything else. I don’t think the work is hard, if you love it, but the business is brutal and crushing and offers far more rejection than it does success. That said, I know I could not be happy doing anything else, so here I am.

Then I suppose my next bit of advice is that if you must write then you must fall in love with writing. Whatever that means. If you are to do it, you must find a way to love the doing of it.

If you’re new at it, this is where talking to other writers might actually help. Their experience — their failures probably more than their successes — can be of some benefit. Letting other people make your mistakes can save you a great deal of time. For me the mistakes are much easier to see in someone else’s writing (cause I’m kind of a bitch.)

But it’s a love affair with writing that will make you a writer.

When I wrote my first novel, Say Uncle, I sat in a very uncomfortable Lucite folding chair at a glass table. I wrote in long hand, on yellow legal pads in black, Pilot Razor Point pen. I had three other jobs at the time, so I only had Saturday mornings to write. What I discovered that meant was that I had to spend Friday night getting EVERTHING done. The house had to be clean, the floors waxed, the car washed, the dry cleaning delivered or picked up, the sock drawer sorted, the canned goods alphabetized, EVERYTHING. I even needed to make plans for Saturday evening or at the very least Sunday brunch. Only in that way could I keep my butt in that chair on my precious Saturday morning and write.

It sounds just awful to me now, but that’s where I really fell in love with writing. I’d get up, put the coffee on, take a shower and sit down with a steaming mug, a clean ashtray and a carton of cigarettes. I’d take my first sip of dark, strong French roast, light the first Marlboro, upcap the pen and lean in to those yellow pages. And when I looked up, it would be night time. It was like the Witch and the Wardrobe. For all those Saturday hours, I was just gone. I came to understand the power of creation that holds writers in thrall. I spent those weekend mornings in a world of my own making.

And I was hooked.

I was already working as a writer, but the freedom of those Saturday mornings sticks with me. It’s the high I’m always chasing when I sit down to face a blank page.

I skipped typewriters. They were around but I couldn’t bear re-typing. I’ve since learned to compose on a computer. I quit smoking – yuck! – and gave up coffee – sniff, sniff. The internet has been invented which makes research an instantaneous and integral part of writing as opposed to the time burning field trips, interviews and hours at the library that used to be mandatory and which I still find a great deal of fun—probably because they’re now optional.

There have been periods when I did all my writing on a laptop in bed. A lot of The Prince’s Psalm was written on a chaise lounge that used to be in Anne Rice’s living room and is now in mine. I’m back at a desk these days, but we’ll see. I’ve got friends who write at coffee shops and public places but I’m just too social for all that temptation.

Insofar as learning how to write, I’ve only one piece of advice. Read. I learned to write by reading. And then I got better at writing by writing. I’ve never had a writing class. I’m bad enough at spelling and punctuation and the like to suspect that I have some undiagnosed learning disabilities that preclude my being able to learn those things or make heads or tails of numbers. But I have learned how to tell a story by reading other story tellers and I’ve gotten better at story telling by telling stories.

And that’s really all I’ve got.

If you want to read a long book about writing I suspect that you’re just avoiding work, but reading other people’s writing will only improve yours — even if it’s just to see what bad storytellers they are! Oh, but when their work inspires me there’s nothing that makes me want to write more.

So, if you want to write, then write. Fearlessly. Get it wrong. Learn from your mistakes. Do it again. Do better. But more than anything, if you want to write fall in love with writing.

The Prince Psalm and my other novels are available here in all formats and platforms: http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/albums/the-princes-psalm/

Angels edit 1

Over the years I’ve gotten the feeling that The Prince’s Psalm was a novel that was meant to be somehow. Along the road to publication, people told me the book was too old fashioned, too modern, too long and too short. There are more than a dozen drafts and scores of rewrites.

And every time I have thought to put the book aside, it has come up again, on its own.

There are plenty of books I want to write. Ideas that have been orbiting around up there, waiting on their chance, for years. I’ve written books that are moldering away on old, actually-floppy discs and some that are big-banded and stuffed into long forgotten stationery boxes.

I published Write Murder last fall, the first in a murder mystery series I’ve always wanted to write.

There is a folder in my files entitled “I Think Maybe” that has little scraps of paper on which I’ve jotted down ideas. Countless e-folders crowd the document files on my computer, each filled with little synopses, ideas and titles.

Many years ago, my father reached out to me and shared the first few verses from 1 Samuel 18:1-3 because he thought their depiction of the love between Jonathan and David demonstrated a Christian inclusion of my sexuality, a kind of meeting point between his long-held faith and my identity. In that moment, I became determined to write The Prince’s Psalm. But along the way, the universe seemed determined never to let me give up on the idea.

I attended a local play starring a long forgotten gay porn star and the verses my father had quoted to me were on the program even though it was not the subject of the play or referenced in it – I know, I was not the only person at the play, but still, random. There was an inspirational phone call with my dear friend novelist Anne Rice whose encouragement and determination singlehandedly caused me to write The Prince’s Psalm. And yet, we could not even get my agent interested in the book once it was written.

Shortly thereafter, I went to a friend’s comic book signing – my pal Gregg Hurwitz is not only a prolific author but he also writes the Batman graphic novels or comic books or whatever is polite to call them now but whatever you call it, it’s BATMAN!! Right?! Isn’t that cool? – and at lunch after, we commiserated about the business of writing, as authors do, and when I mentioned The Prince’s Psalm and how it was languishing in a drawer, ignored by my own publisher, for whom my most recent novel had been a bestseller, Gregg volunteered to read it. Shortly thereafter, he connected me with his literary lawyer, the excellent Marc Glick. Marc fell for The Prince’s Psalm and put me together with estimable historical author and interpreter of the Bard, Nicole Galland. Nicole worked with me to edit the unabridged version into the merely compendious work it has become.

Alas, once again the project flagged. But then, several years later, my best friend Christopher Rice ran into Elizabeth North (Publisher and Executive Director at DSP) at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Dallas. As they spoke of other matters, Christopher happened to mention The Prince’s Psalm in passing as their conversation turned to historical works. Elizabeth was polite enough to ask to see my novel. I sent it to her and she published it.

But the most unnerving cosmic nudge happened at the very well attended signing of another book. I was appearing at the West Hollywood Book Fair that is, alas, no more. The book I was promoting was a bestseller and the crowd was big, but the security was a little light. A man who’d apparently begun his recreational substance use a little early that day — and possibly a few hundred days before – broke through the rope line, charged the table, waved his finger in my face and demanded, “Don’t you remember me? I’m King David, have you forgotten?” And then he ran away before I could answer.

If I have learned anything from watching eleven seasons and counting of Supernatural it is not to expect my angels all to arrive in stained-glass-ready form. Some are little a little scruffier than others. Angels come into this world through the vessels that are open to them, so who knows? But whether or not that man was really an angel or just high and sleeping in the park, my answer is the same. The long answer is my novel The Prince’s Psalm. But my answer then and now is “No, David, I have never forgotten you.”

The Prince’s Psalm and all my books are available in all formats and platforms here: http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/albums/the-princes-psalm/



PrincesPsalm[The]_headerbannerPublishing a new book is a great way to find out who your friends really are! And I don’t mean that snarky. A novel is a big ask of anyone, even a close friend. And a big fat, historical, biblical, gay romance, well that really gives your bestest, besties the chance to rise to the occasion. I apparently have a lot of really wonderful friends! So many people have taken time to help me promote my latest in a busy and indifferent marketplace. From astonishing posts to head spinning reviews to standing up for me against the online homophobes to showing up and getting a book signed or buying a copy and reading it, I feel very lucky so far. I can only hope that the enthusiasm of so many dear friends will translate into success for my dream project. Case in point: I have no idea what I have done to deserve it, but Sarah M. Cradit is not only the bestselling author of The House of Crimson and Clover series (available at her site http://www.sarahmcradit.com/house-of-crimson-clover/) but she took out the time to do a trilogy of posts about my new novel, The Prince’s Psalm on her excellent blog . . And Then There Was Sarah.

If you haven’t seen them, I’m including them here in a kind of digital boxed set. There is a guest post from me about my inspiration for writing The Prince’s Psalm. That’s followed by an interview with Sarah about the novel, being a writer and so much more. And there’s an exclusive excerpt from the novel.

Huge thanks to Sarah for her inestimable support and to all those who’ve helped support The Prince’s Psalm.

Sarah Cradit Post


Sarah Cradit Post 2 The Interview


Sarah Cradit Post 3 The Excerpt


Thanks Sarah and thanks to all who have taken time to read and support The Prince’s Psalm.

The Prince’s Psalm is available in all platforms and formats here:


And signed and personalized copies of The Prince’s Psalm and my other books are available by special appointment from The Ripped Bodice. Call them or order online and leave signing instructions in the comments section at: http://www.therippedbodicela.com/book/9781634768351



With Host Sarah M CraditSarah Cradit Post 3 The Excerpt


The Prince’s Psalm blog tour brings you an exclusive never before seen excerpt from The Prince’s Psalm — unless of course you already bought a copy in which case thank you and please visit Sarah’s excellent blog and check out her bestselling series The House of Crimson and Clover at her official website http://www.sarahmcradit.com/.

The excerpt is from the first chapter of The Book of Eliab within the novel. It was originally written as the opening of The Prince’s Psalm and found it’s home at the beginning of the section named for David’s eldest bother Eliab which focuses on David’s family life. I chose it because I think it does a great job of setting the novel and introducing you to a number of the important players, particularly David, and the conflicts and themes that underlie his story. I hope it will whet your appetite for more of The Prince’s Psalm, available here in all formats and platforms:


Sarah Cradit Post 2 The Interview


The Prince’s Psalm virtual book tour continues with another excellent post from bestselling author and estimable blogger, Sarah M. Cradit, author of the beloved House of Crimson & Clover Series. http://www.sarahmcradit.com/house-of-crimson-clover/the-house-of-crimson-clover-series/

Clearly an expert where series are concerned, Sarah continues her blog trilogy on The Prince’s Psalm with an in-depth interview with the author (aka me!).

Go behind the scenes of The Prince’s Psalm as Sarah and I explore my writing process, the controversy surrounding the novel and my personal journey. Of course, you can get your copy of The Prince’s Psalm available in all formats here: http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/albums/the-princes-psalm/ 

It is a book tour, after all!

Coming Next Tuesday:

An Exclusive Excerpt From The Prince’s Psalm


PrincesPsalm[The]FSThe Prince’s Psalm, my first ever romance, first ever historical, first ever Biblical epic about the sweeping love story between David, of David and Goliath fame and Prince Jonathan, the first heir to the throne of the then brand new, emerging nation of Israel, launched June 7th in print and digital versions (available in all platforms here: http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/albums/the-princes-psalm/

PurpleRoseTeaHouseThere has been a book tour going on, but it’s been online. It has taken the form of guest posts and reviews on the blogs of generous colleagues and book enthusiasts. It began at The Purple Rose Tea House with a guest post about my emotional first encounter with Michelangelo’s iconic David and the lasting effects on me and my home décor here:    http://www.purpleroseteahouse.com/2016/06/08/guest-post-il-david-the-princes-psalm-by-eric-shaw-quinn/

The Novel Approach blog The Novel Approachshared my thoughts on the challenges of writing a novel I wasn’t qualified to write until I was finished writing it — Now I could teach a class!! — in which I reveal why proving what no one knows is as important as finding out what has been proven for certain. You’ll find my detailed account here: http://www.thenovelapproachreviews.com/the-princes-psalm-a-guest-post-by-author-eric-shaw-quinn/

Sarah Cradit PostAnd Then There Was Sarah . . . Cradit that is, the USA Today bestselling author of the epic House of Chrimson & Clover series, has launched the first of three tour events at her blog with a guest post from me on the few simple Biblical verses that inspired me to begin a 20 year quest to write and publish The Prince’s Psalm. My interview with Sarah premieres on her blog next week and she will publish an exclusive excerpt from The Prince’s Psalm there the week following. Catch up and stay tuned for more at: https://sarahcradit.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/the-eric-shaw-quinn-series-part-1-of-3-a-guest-post-from-eric/

There’ve even been a couple A Phone Call From Anne Riceof stops on the blog tour right here at EricShawQuinn.com about how Anne Rice threatened me into pursuing my dream project and a the tale of the development of a cover worthy of the labor of love that is The Prince’s Psalm. I hope everyone else is enjoying this digital tour as much as I am.

https://ericshawquinn.com/2016/07/01/a-phone-call-from-anne-rice/ & https://ericshawquinn.com/2016/06/22/cover-story-the-princes-psalm/

On the one hand I love doing a book tour while sealed in my excessively air conditioned office (I’ve been having a hot flash since the mid-80s) and working on Down Low, the latest in my Write Murder mystery series featuring the worst sleuths in murder mystery lit – bitterly scorned, celebrity ghostwriter Paige Blanche & and his nemesis Angela Panderson the aging, washed-up, has-been TV star who ruined Paige’s life. Meet them then in Write Murder http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/albums/write-murder/

That other hand though? I do miss seeing people in person to talk about the stories and character’s that’ve been trapped in my head with real people who’ve been kind enough to read my novels. And, I still haven’t worked out how to get people’s books signed on a digital tour. I will be signing The Prince’s Psalm Ripped Bodice Event Flyerand my other books live and in person at The Ripped Bodice bookstore in Culver City California Sunday, July 17th at 1pm in an event featuring bestselling authors Christopher Rice (http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/christopher-rice-books/) and Damon Suede (http://www.damonsuede.com/author.html) who’ve kindly allowed me to join them at their event. So if you can make it, I’d love to see you and sign your copy of The Prince’s Psalm if you’d like.

But to the clever digital wizards out there (or just the digitally better informed) please invent a way PrincesPsalm[The]_FBprofile_smallto sign books digitally. Meanwhile, hope to see you Sunday July 17th at The Ripped Bodice and, I hope, a book lover’s venue near you very soon!






@And Then There Was SarahSarah Cradit Post


Thanks to accomplished author, colleague & Party Person, Sarah Cradit,PrincesPsalm[The]FS who made room on her excellent blog And Then There Was Sarah (SarahCradit.wordpress.com) for a fond memory of my father’s kindness that served as the inspiration for one of my most ambitious projects to date, my novel The Prince’s Psalm. This is the first of a three-part series Sarah is hosting on the next couple of Tuesdays so stay tuned for more! (Next Tuesday The Interview!)

To find out more about Sarah and her estimable work check out http://www.sarahmcradit.com/

And to find out more about what we’re talking about get your copy of The Prince’s Psalm available in print and all platforms here: http://thedinnerpartyshow.com/albums/the-princes-psalm/






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