You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.

The War of Art is a great book, damn near invaluable, not only for artists (of all stripes), but really, anyone who wants to do something with their lives other than eat, work and reproduce, work some more and die.

Think like this: what’s easier to do? Is it easier to…start an argument on Facebook than work on your query letter? Get caught up on others’ silly problems than do your revisions? I’m paraphrasing what Steven Pressfield says in the book, so I’ll end this little commercial with a link: The War of Art

He writes a blog series, Writing Wednesdays. It’s good stuff, much more worthwhile than say, sharing a silly Buzzfeed/Thought Catalog list or the daily outrage the online tabloids manufacture to drive pageviews.

Little Red King – Query Letter

I think we’re getting closer. Jia you!

After graduating college, 22-year old John Ingram doesn’t know what to do with his life. He wants to leave behind his terrible degree, the terrible economy and his broken family, and when he sees an ad seeking English teachers in China, he jumps at the chance.

The ad leads him to Wuhan, his home for the next nine months. Wuhan turns out to be better than he imagined: he makes good money working only twelve hours a week, his students treat him well, even the most banal interactions provide a story to tell, and Michelle, a Chinese graduate student, makes him forget the life he left behind.

Michelle is hesitant to date anyone, especially a foreigner, but John is persistent. A banquet leads to a date, a date leads to a quick kiss on the shores of Wuhan’s South Lake. Michelle is looking for a serious relationship, and John has decided to be with her, even if it means staying in China the rest of his life.

But when another teacher sexually assaults a student, John is fasely accused.

Deportation looming, John must decide whether his life here is worth fighting for or risk returning to the terrible degree, terrible economy and broken family he left behind.

LITTLE RED KING is 120,000 words.

New fiction: The Traveler

Some flash fiction, available in Dual Coast Magazine:

The traveler pulled out a chair and sat down across from me. I looked up.

“Tonight’s the night?”

The traveler was quiet. He was here before me, and I always figured he’d be here long after I left. Two years ago, he pulled the chair out like he did tonight, ordered the bottle like he did tonight, and took a sip, careful not to let his beard fall into his drink.

Two years, and I guess I don’t need an answer.

Tonight is the night.

Read the rest here.