Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

The mantra is from the Dune books by Frank Herbert. A treatise on the environment, as a teenager I interpreted Dune as the danger of politicians who view themselves as gods, for good and bad, Atreides and Harkonnen. We’ve seen a lot of this in recent history. 

Fear is primal and constant. Cowardice is the fear of injury or death (emotional or physical). Prejudice is the irrational fear of other people and their beliefs. Nervousness is the fear of unknown consequences. Stress can be the fear of failure or being discovered for our true selves. These and other emotions may not be something we can easily talk about, perhaps because of the American “cowboy culture” of putting on a brave face in our daily tsunami of woes and troubles. Or the Christian belief that we were born to suffer, yet we must and should carry on, no matter what (or so they say). 

Life is not easy, no matter your philosophy, and some of us prioritize “self-sufficiency” over the “helping hand up” when Life hits the fan. After all, grown-ups are supposed to have all the answers, right? But 2020 was a constant struggle with fastballs from every direction. I learned (again) there’s no shame in asking for help, and that there is less shame in making difficult decisions to pull ourselves from the brink of damage. I made one such move recently to leave what I thought was my dream job, but in reality affected my health. The decision was not right or wrong, but what was best for me, I suppose.

For writers, defining on paper that line between courage and fear is our bread and butter. If our characters were consumed by one or the other, they would be two-dimensional creatures not worthy of our readers’ time and energy. We have a mandate to make our people realistic and interesting, and we can do this by exposing their higher angels and inner demons. Putting Life on paper is both our highest calling and our most imperfect task. 

My small bit of advice, then: no matter the genre, no matter the time period, no matter the situation, focus first on your characters’ internal struggles as they survive and surpass (if they do). The pauper who would be a prince, the matchstick girl who becomes the queen, or the tadpole who rules an underwater empire. Or the street urchin who finds a safe home every night with their own little nuclear family. 

Plot is emotion, both in prose and life, and our fears can inspire us to be more than we are. Be brave enough to ask for help, be fearless in your writing, and you may be surprised by how strong you really are.


CC and I think we’re getting our feet under us on the podcast thing, and we appreciate your patience as we muddle through.

We’re devoting this Sunday’s (April 11, 2021) episode to something light: Reality. We writers love to dabble in reality and rules and the laws of physics, so we’re going to chat about our writing experiences and thoughts. We thought about bringing books into the mix (like this one), but we’re taking the easy route by watching two movies this week and taking notes (related: yay, homework).

We hope you’ll take a few minutes and join in. You can find our previous podcasts here and here. Thanks for reading and listening!


Howdy hoo, neighbor, and hope this finds you well. If you’re me, the last five words there have snuck into a hundred or so emails over the year as the pandemic closed in and changed so many lives. I admit I had a growing certainty that getting COVID was a matter of “when” versus “if,” not the least due to the ever-present “underlying conditions” thing that is my life. Plus I’m a rebel and not so good with rules (or so I’m told).

Well, Nope. COVID met its match in CC who kept me home, kept me healthy, and kept me grounded. Many a time I was tempted to cross over the line from common sense to foolhardiness, but she would have none of that. We adjusted our outward habits, minimized human contact when appropriate, and stayed out of harm’s way. She ruled our nest with a velvet glove over an iron fist.

Today was the outcome of her efforts: I received the second Moderna booster today and, oy, am I feeling it, but that I am here to feel after a year of confinement in this time of cholera is due to the love and guidance of one person.

So it’s your fault, CC, that I’m both in pain and alive. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for being strong and being you.


Cassidy Carson (CC) and I have been doing this writing thing for a few years, and we express ourselves on different planes of creative energy. CC plots and plans and outlines and draws on a host of personal experiences to enrich her prose. I rush headlong where angels fear to fly, and either crash or ascend depending on the situation. Each approach has their strengths and weaknesses, but neither are “good” or “bad.” Our methodologies speak to our personal and professional character, and these habits have found us success in our day jobs.

But you’d think it would take less than forty years for us to come together in a forum like this for our night jobs.

To be fair, CC has long suggested that we combine our literary forces, but being a boomer-aged male, I don’t ask for directions nor do I tend to follow them. On the other hand, being a Lone Wolf hasn’t been especially successful, either. I conceded the high ground and agreed it was time to find a new schtick that uses the old schtick: a partnership.

We’re combining our energies and thoughts into one site that will grow and change as we grow and change our online presence, but we’re also realistic: blog posts don’t have the gravitas they once had, maybe because there are so many words on the Internet now. Que sara, sara. We’ll forge ahead, anyway.

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions, feel free to email CC or me at your leisure. If you see typos, we’ll gladly take corrections.

We hope you’re not bored. Thanks for reading along.

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