23 November 2021

For Everything There is a Season

I spent the last weekend of October at a VRBO in Comanche, Texas, with James A. Hearn and our spouses. The getaway was organized by Temple and Dawn, and the intent was to get us all away from daily stresses.

I’m one of those people who must keep occupied at all times, so I had a difficult time relaxing. Instead of enjoying the quiet and the company, I kept thinking about all the writing and editing projects I’d left behind.

Despite not being fully engaged in the art of relaxation, I came home with a new attitude toward the trajectory of my life. During the past few years, I’ve been writing less and editing more, and I had been wrestling with what that meant.

A week after we returned, Temple and I had a long discussion in which I decided to embrace editing as a priority over writing rather than as something in competition with writing. By the end of our conversation, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

In one of those events that would be too coincidental for belief if I’d included it in a short story, the next day I was offered—and I accepted—an editing situation in which I’ll be acquiring fifty-two stories a year. A week after that, a different publisher greenlit three anthology proposals, and all of this is in addition to existing editing commitments.

As King Solomon might have written in Ecclesiastes, if he’d worked in publishing: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to write, and a time to edit.” My time to edit has come.

So, keeping busy won’t be a problem for the foreseeable future, and the next time Temple and I get away—with or without the Hearns—I might better appreciate the downtime.

My story “Crush” appears in the Winter 2021 issue of


  1. Congratulations on your new editing gigs. And lovely for a lot of lucky writers down the road.

  2. Sounds cool. Again, I marvel at your energy.

  3. Congrats on the new editing gigs as well as a super excellent choice in spouse. ;)

  4. Sometimes the stars align in a good way. I'm glad they came together for you. Real life does indeed produce more coincidences than fiction allows.

  5. Congratulations! Sometimes, when you make a decision, you find out it's already been set up for you. That's the sweetest form of synchronicity.

  6. More Bracken anthologies is a welcome development, Michael — but if this means fewer new Bracken stories, well, that's a real trade-off. As Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan said, though, you have to travel the path with heart. All things considered, I'm happy that you've found yours....

  7. Congratulations on the new gigs and thanks to Temple for helping you sort out your priorities. And thanks to you for continuing to share your expertise and insights. Sometimes, you just gotta stop and smell the toner...

  8. Congratulations! That's a fine lot of work you have ahead of you! Best of luck with it/them.

  9. As O'Neil said, I marvel at your energy. I relate you revelation/decision to actors who decide to direct (Ron Howard, etc.), musicians who choose to produce (Alan Parsons), and players who prefer to coach, or sometimes to pursue something entirely different, such as artistic endeavors, religion, marriage and children (Kim Clijsters) or, in the case of Pat Tillman, to serve in the US Army after 9/11.

    Or sometimes you'd rather be a general than an on-the-ground field major. And the pay might be better!


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>