The Write Word Books and Stories
I had a crazed period (essentially all my high school years and then some) where I ran a shoplifting “business,” stealing goods like tape players, records, and lots of booze and selling them or giving them away to my friends. A mere 50 years later, I give that phase a good WTF.
I published Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See in print and as an Amazon e-book. The book’s core is how to see the world as a writer. It supplies tools to find and cultivate your writer’s voice, that unique combination of attributes—sensitivity to language, storytelling and audience—by which writers see and define the world. You can download sample chapters here.
Think Like a Writer will stimulate your story-hunting process, and explores how to get the stories written, for both fiction and nonfiction writing. The book discusses writing at a structural level: how words work in sentences and how sentences work in stories, moving to how to use those elements and that writer’s stance to write across genres.
It ends with how to deal with writing distractions, and offers a resources section with takes on practical matters of software, hardware and links to writing resources. And it’s written in a light, entertaining style.
Oh, and it’s funny.
Book Recommendation: Think Like A Writer: How to Write the Stories You See “You’ll never see the world in the same way again once you’ve seen it through Bentley’s eyes. He’ll teach you to see like a writer, which can only give you more vivid powers of observation. Bentley is witty, clever and passionately in love with words.” Joan Dempsey, author and editor
Swirled All the Way to the Shrub is set in Prohibition-era Boston. Our hero, Pinky DeVroom senses that his soul has been stifled by writing fluff for years about the gilt-edged Boston society mandarins. He’s hoping the novel he’s written will turn fortune to his favor. Fortune will soon turn a different direction, since it’s late October, 1929. The book works its way through Pinky’s travails with weavings of Prohibition history, actual historical figures, corporate malfeasance, and love’s losses and gains.
There are many humorous encounters and moments, and an equal number of moments you will say, “Pinky, no!” But he rarely listens, poor fellow. Plenty of thorny subplots about the publishing industry of the time, corporate politics and outrage over those politics, and the best way to stomach bathtub gin.
See more about historical references in the book, updates and about my co-author, Rick Wilson, at www.swirledshrub.com.
Aftershock is the story of a scheming would-be novelist, his prim, closet-alcoholic boss and a discerning homeless veteran who have their fates thrown together by the 1989 S.F. earthquake. The distinct first-person voice of the schemer, and that of the homeless veteran and the secret alcoholic make for an at times rollicking, at times sad collision of lives. Their interplay is disastrous, surprising, and richly human.
There’s a lot of San Francisco in the book, including the city’s beauties, and how the AIDS crisis affects a secondary character. Even the Bronte sisters get their moments. The cover image links to various online stores to grab the book.
This page also used to house a number of my published short stories, but most of those were published in Flowering, a story collection in late May of 2012, along with many new stories. Two of the stories can be downloaded below.
Flowering’s 16 stories are built around themes of loss, social disruption, mistaken judgment & stumbling redemption. Characters are complex and not always charming, but their colors are memorably bright. Please download for free Exchange, one of the stories in the collection.
All Roads Are Circles
Here’s the cover of my coming-of-age novel, published in print and as an ebook on Amazon. It’s a road story of two just-out-of-high-school best friends, hitchhiking across Canada, hearts on their thumbs.
All Roads Are Circles is a story of innocence lost, knowledge gained, and the sweet madness of accepting a ride with drivers who might not—or definitely don’t—have their passengers’ best interests in mind. A wild ride; seat belts optional.
A tale about a stubborn small-town kid who refuses his chance to watch a total eclipse because of a feud with a local dignitary, published in Flowering and Other Stories, my book of short stories.
A creepy short story about creepy dolls, published in the lovely literary magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader.