EL NINO AND EYEWALL

Eyewall-cvrThe Atlantic hurricane season is off to a stumbling start this year and doesn’t seem destined to become much better . . . or worse, depending on your viewpoint.  So far, only three relatively flabby (but soggy) tropical storms have popped up, Ana, Bill, and Claudette.

The Pacific basins, in contrast, have been spitting out hurricanes and typhoons like a toddler hurling his creamed spinach.

So what’s going on?  El Niño!  Yes, our favorite scapegoat for absolutely everything has returned.  (Well, maybe we can’t blame Donald Trump on it.)

A LOLLYGAGGER OF A HURRICANE SEASON?

andrewraThe 2015 hurricane season forecasts are out (see  Weather Channel graphic below) and the consensus is that activity in the Atlantic Basin (Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico) is going to be an underachiever.

So, what’s that mean for you if you live along or plan on visiting the Atlantic or Gulf Coast this summer?

Not much, it turns out.  The number of hurricanes and tropical storms that blossom in the Atlantic Basin has very little, if any, correlation to the number that actually hit the U. S.

SAM TOWNSEND (a character in Supercell), OWNER AND OPERATOR OF THE “GUST FRONT GRILL”

Sam Townsend, rheumy-eyed, weatherbeaten and heavyset, sports a face folded with age and memories. If you ever searched for him in a crowd, he wouldn’t be difficult to spot. He wears a black stovepipe hat with an eagle’s feather jammed into the hatband.

Half Osage Indian and a Vietnam combat veteran, Sam is conflicted by visions rooted in his native American background, and nightmares erupting from his memories of the killing grounds of Southeast Asia. For instance, when he tells his old friend and veteran storm chaser Chuck Rittenburg to Beware the thunder, it turns out he wasn’t warning of thunderstorms.

A WARNING LABEL FOR PLAGUE?

So here it is! What do you think of my new Website?

With the recent release of my second novel, Plague, I figured it was time to spruce up my digital image.

Plague is a lot different from Eyewall, but just as much of a page turner. From the world of violent hurricanes in Eyewall, I venture into the world of bioterrorism in Plague. The inspiration for Plague sprang from my fascination with the Ebola virus, perhaps the deadliest pathogen known to man. The thought that Ebola could be weaponized is absolutely terrifying.

THE AUTHORING LIFE

For my non-Facebook friends, it’s time to bring you up to date on my authoring life.

First, my upcoming novel is now called Plague. It was born as The Koltsovo Legacy and went through three or four title changes before reaching the “carved in stone” stage. Plague.

Second, the release date for Plague is September 15. There’ll be an Atlanta Writers Club-sponsored launch party (book signing) at Peerless Book Store in Alpharetta, Georgia, that evening.

Third, my Website is currently in the process of being updated/upgraded. You should be able to view the new and improved model here by the middle of August.

WRITERS CONFERENCES … WHY?

Some of my friends, non-writers, knowing I’d just returned from the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop, asked me what goes on at such conferences.

First, I must explain, there are different types of conferences. Some, such as the one sponsored by the Southeastern Writers, focus on teaching the craftsmanship of writing. Many, like those held by the Atlanta Writers Club, are designed to put authors in touch with literary agents and publishers. Still others, usually bigger gatherings—-the Willamette Writers Conference, for instance—-are a combination of both, sometimes with film agents thrown into the mix.

DEAR JOHN…

To me, it was akin to getting a “Dear John” letter from an old girl friend long after I’d married someone else.

But here it came, a rejection letter (email) from a literary agent for Eyewall over a year after the novel had been published and more than two years since I’d contacted—-and long forgotten about—-the agent.

ROLL OUT THE BERYL(S)?

Tropical storms and hurricanes don’t often threaten the Georgia coast. Just recently, however, pre-season Tropical Storm Alberto did some saber rattling along the Georgia and Carolina shores. Admittedly, it was more of a cardboard saber than a real sword, but at least the action lured The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore to Charleston.

Now—-and remember, it’s still May and the Atlantic Hurricane season hasn’t even celebrated Opening Day—-the weather models are pretty much unanimous in suggesting yet another tropical or subtropical storm will make an appearance off the Southeast Coast within the next couple of days.

YELLOW BRICK ROADKILL?

Friday I leave for Oklahoma City where my week-long quest for the wily, or sometimes not so wily, tornado will begin.

My wife is absolutely convinced I’m a dead man walking; certain I’ll get swept up like Dorothy and end up as road kill on the Yellow Brick Freeway.

More likely, if conditions ripe for twisters go into hibernation, I’ll die of boredom.

But no matter. My primary goal, believe it or not, is not to get up close and personal with a Great Plains’ monster—-though I’m not averse to that—-but to learn how tornado chasers operate. To see what their daily routine is, what meteorological parameters they examine, what monitoring equipment they employ, and how they communicate with each other during a pursuit.

The Weather Channel®–The Early Days, Part III

Here’s the third and final blog of a trio describing the early history of The Weather Channel whose 30th anniversary is just around the corner—-May 2.

In September 1989, John Hope helped bring The Weather Channel to national prominence as the source for hurricane information. Hurricane Hugo, a classic Cape Verde storm and the first category four to hit the U.S. in quite some time, slammed into South Carolina with 140-mph winds. John, red-eyed and rumpled, stayed on the air for 18 consecutive hours, advising and calming residents as the powerful storm swirled from the Atlantic Ocean into the Palmetto State.