I don’t remember when, or exactly how, I first came across Charles Gramlich’s blog, RAZORED ZEN. I just know I took to it instantly. It’s been a few years now as it had to be after my disability because getting a new computer and onto the internet was something to help fill my days as I could no longer work. As much as I love to read and listen to music(metal still being my favorite even at my advanced age of 59), I needed something more to do with my time.
Write With Fire
RAZORED ZEN was one of the earliest blogs I started to follow(many more were soon bookmarked) and I had no thoughts of starting my own back then.

Charles’ posts revealed someone I had a lot in common with. We both loved such writers as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, to name just a couple, than a great deal of the best-selling literary “lights” of the day.

And I gleaned a lot on his posts on writing. In my younger days, teens, I used to write pastches of my favorites of the day(the only completed rough drafts I have left are two Man From U.N.C.L.E. novels; and yes, they are simply wretched).

Unfortunately the realities of life and work soon ended my attempts to write. I’ve lived alone most of my adult life , except for a few short periods, and feel quite comfortable with it. So work predominated just for me to survive. I probably didn’t have the discipline to write in my younger days anyway.

I lurked on RAZORED ZEN for a good while before I felt confident enough to comment. There was something about it though. A kindred spirit I guess. I have nine years on Charles and, as he mentions in the book, there was no such animal as kindergarten back then. At least in my small town.

I entered the first grade not knowing how to read(my mother, though she liked to read, was raising three children alone and did spend a great deal of time with my sisters and myself, though reading to us was not something she did) and still won a prize at the end of that first year for reading the most books in the class. That was including a young girl who did advanced work so she skipped the second grade the next year. There has been no stopping me since.

Sheesh, I’m getting off subject here. Sorry, Charles.

WRITE WITH FIRE is a fine how-to for writers and would-be writers alike. It’s filled with all sorts of useful information written in his breezy, east to read style. I found myself zipping through taking it all in(the man certainly knows his stuff). Everything from tips on the writing process to things like submission letters. He has essays on proper grammar and punctuation, discusses the techniques he himself might use to construct a story, physical conditioning(just from sitting at a computer keyboard for long periods, I can tell you it’s tough), all the while emphasizing one should find their own voice.

There are even a number of anecdotes from his life. His experiences after Katrina were of interest as was the short story his son, Josh, wrote at seventeen, Charles cheerfully admitting he couldn’t have done as well. The pride shows through.

When I started this book, I wasn’t at all sure how I would take it. I liked his four novels and the booklet of poetry(when I finished Cold In The Light at four in the morning, I immediately fired off a “nasty” email for keeping me up half the night), but they were fiction. It was a fun read though.

I certainly encourage anyone who doesn’t already have it to get a copy soon.