WHERE WILL YOU BE ON “C-DAY?”

imagesWhere will you be on “C-Day,” the day the Cascadia Subduction Zone blows a gasket?  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Maybe we’re all six feet under or blowing in the wind by then.

Or maybe not, not if Cascadia lets ‘er rip tomorrow or over the Fourth of July weekend, like in the novel, Cascadia.

So, where might you be?

 

Possibly, like a guy nicknamed Shack in Cascadia, you’re visiting the small Oregon coastal town of Manzanita and just sitting down to breakfast in The Big Wave Cafe.

IT’S QUIET OUT THERE . . . TOO QUIET—A LOOK AT THE 2016 HURRICANE SEASON

Hurricane_Wilma_over_South_Florida,_enhanced_color_GOES_12_satellite_imageThe season for blizzards has drifted away.  The climatological peak for tornadoes and supercells is spinning past us.  So now comes the months when we turn a wary eye toward the oceans, and terms such as “storm surge” and “eyewall” begin to creep into our conversations.  The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway (June 1st).

Not that “officially” means much anymore.  Two rogue storms already have thumbed their noses at officialdom this year, Hurricane Alex in January, and Tropical Storm Bonnie just a few days ago.

CASCADIA–A PICTORIAL PREVIEW

ecola

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.

 

 

CBM08REChaystack

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.

YES, I KNOW THAT’S NOT WHAT A REAL TSUNAMI LOOKS LIKE

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.

How EYEWALL influenced CASCADIA

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.

THE FIRST ONE-STAR REVIEW OF CASCADIA

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?”

HOW A NOVEL IS CONCEIVED

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.

LOOKING FOR A FEW THRILLS AT CHRISTMAS?

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.) 

THE AUTHOR’S ABYSS

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.