This blog is different from most I write, in that it’s built around pictures and photographs rather than words.

Cascadia, my forthcoming novel, is set primarily along the spectacular and rugged northern Oregon coast.  I grew up not far from there in Portland, and I know I didn’t fully appreciate the magnificence of the region until after I’d left and returned for visits.




One of the most iconic features along the Oregon coast is Haystack Rock near Cannon Beach. In the novel, you’ll spend a lot of time around both places, Haystack and Cannon Beach.


CASCADIA FRONT COVER 4_1When I got my first look at what is now the cover of Cascadia, my left-brain (logical, factual) persona took over.

 I fired off an email to my publisher: “NO, sorry.  The cover image looks great, but it’s much too Hollywood.  A real tsunami doesn’t look anything like that.”

Now most publishers, especially the majors, will merely drop a cover in an author’s lap and say, “That’s it.”  But in an unusual effort to accommodate their left-brained, pain-in-the-ass novelist, me, Bell Bridge Books ran through five more iterations of the cover.


Eyewall-cvrOf the four novels I’ve had published so far, my first, Eyewall, remains by far the best seller.  That’s been a little difficult for me to come to grips with, since I don’t think the book necessarily reflects my best writing.  It’s not that it’s bad writing—or it would never have sold as many copies as it has—it’s just that I like to think I grow (get better) as a writer with each new effort.


FullSizeRenderStormy, our five-year-old Shih Tzu, pads into my office and sits next to me where I’m working at my desk.

“Hey, Storms, what’s up?”

He doesn’t respond, just looks up at me with his big brown eyes the size of shooter marbles.  I notice he’s sporting a tie.

“What’s with the tie, dude?  Haven’t seen you in one of those before.”  I remember that Valentine’s Day is nearing.  “Lookin’ for love, maybe?”

“I’m neutered,” he growls.

“Right,” I say, and change the subject.  Quickly.  “So why the GQ look?”


searchI grew up in western Oregon.  It seemed, at least in terms of natural threats, a bucolic place in which to spend my youth.  For instance, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes there were about as common as the Northern Lights in Georgia.   Hurricanes were nonexistent.  Such storms are born over warm oceans.  If you’ve ever dipped a toe into the Pacific along the Oregon coast, you know it’s water in which Polar Bear Plungers could train even in August.


655191-christmas-trees-desktop-wallpaper-1600x1200In my newest novel, BLIZZARD, a corporate executive undertakes a desperate journey through an historic Southern blizzard, but quickly realizes the storm isn’t the only thing that can kill him. 

A question that naturally arises is Could a true blizzard really smack the Deep South?

The answer is yes.  In fact, one did in the not too distant past.  Remember “Superstorm ’93,” also called “The Storm of the Century,” in March 1993?  Honest-to-goodness blizzard conditions raked areas from northern Alabama through the southern Appalachians (and as far north as New England.) 


whiskey+glassIt occurs every time I complete a manuscript and send it out for comment.  I can’t explain it.  It just happens.  I tumble into something I call The Author’s Abyss, a sinkhole of self-doubt.  It’s recurring epiphany I have that, in plain language, reminds me I can’t write worth a shit.

I realize the beloved project–my novel–that I dove into with such enthusiasm and optimism has disintegrated into something worthy of only a paper shredder.  In the beginning, full of passion and fervor, I commanded, at least to myself, “Let there be light,” and a fictional world full of interesting characters and compelling stories began to take shape out of a formless void.  Pulitzer Prize-candidate stuff.

El Niño and SUPERCELL (the novel)

Tornado_Damage_BirminghamLast week I blogged about El Niño and its connection, or lack thereof, to wintry weather in the Deep South.  This week I’ll take a look at El Niño and its influence on severe storms–supercells and tornadoes–in the same region.

There’s a late-winter/early-spring climatological maximum in Dixie of severe storms (before the focus of the turmoil shifts to the Great Plains), so that’s the season I’ll examine. 

Most people will be happy to learn that El Niño-influenced weather patterns have a damping effect on violent storms at that time of year in the South.  That is, there are fewer slam-bang thunderboomers around as compared to, say, a La Niña year.

El Niño and BLIZZARD (the novel)

Blizzard-home-cvrAs you’re undoubtedly aware, a powerful El
Niño is expected to exert heavy-handed authority over our weather this winter.  And before I go any further, please, please, please remember El Niño is NOT a weather phenomenon.  It’s the name given to a particular Pacific Ocean temperature regime.  El Niño exerts an influence on weather patterns, but is not in and of itself a weather event.

Okay, glad we got that straightened out.  Anyhow, with a chiller- and wetter-than-average cool season looming for much of the Southeast (see graphics below) due to El Niño’s impact, I got to wondering if that meant there might be a greater chance than usual for ice and snow in the land of cotton and kudzu.


1-0kneMlogwgMIbKg3R80V4wCascadia.  If you live on the West Coast, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, the name will register with you.  If you live elsewhere, it probably won’t, unless you happened to have read the article in the July 20th issue of The New Yorker titled “The Really Big One.”

Turns out L. A. is off the hook.  The Really Big One, geologists and seismologists have come to the conclusion recently, now looms for the Northwest, not Southern California.