COULDA BEEN WORSE

ss-161008-matthew-path-destruction-mbe-1146p_402276f383eddbfd2046e4afe8a2df5a-nbcnews-ux-1024-900As disruptive as Hurricane Matthew was for St. Simons Island, Georgia, my favorite spot on the Atlantic Coast, it was not a worst-case, Eyewall-type scenario.

Matthew, most importantly (and obviously) was not a Category 5 monster.  But there was also a bit of luck that factored into things not being worse: the hurricane jogged slightly to the right, farther away from the coast, as it churned past St. Simons and Brunswick.  It also swirled by the island near low tide, substantially mitigating the effects of storm surge flooding.  Once past the Golden Isles, Matthew jiggyed back toward South Carolina.  So, yes, there was a smidgen of luck that hovered over SSI.

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.

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.

Think EYEWALL Without the Ocean

“Uh oh,” I said to myself, after reading an email from an old friend of mine who lives in the Pacific Northwest.  “This could be a problem.”

My friend, Barbara, like me, grew up in western Oregon where thunderstorms are few and far between, and supercells—the most violent of all thunderstorms, the kind that spit out tornadoes—virtually nonexistent.

So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when she, in her email, asked if my new novel, Supercell, was about health or nuclear energy.  WHAT!?  The thought of tornado-spawning thunderstorms never crossed her mind.

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.

THE HURRICANE RED ZONE

So far this hurricane season, it’s been wimpy-time in the Atlantic. Eight tropical cyclones have spun up counting what is currently Tropical Depression #8, but not one has had enough oomph to become a full-blown hurricane. (Number eight won’t make it, either.)

Does the augur well for the remainder of the season?

I wouldn’t count on it. Climatologically speaking, we’re now in the hurricane red zone. By that I mean, we’ve entered the seasonal lair of the monsters. A quick analysis of the 20 most intense hurricanes to slam the U.S. since 1851 shows that all but two sliced ashore between mid-August and the last week of September.

THE KOLTSOVO LEGACY

A psychopathic terrorist is about to unleash weaponized Ebola, The Black Death of the 21st century, on the U.S.

Only Richard Wainwright holds the key to stopping the attack. And he’s wounded, wanted for murder and being hunted by a German hit-woman.

So goes The Koltsovo Legacy, my next novel, due out in September 2012. Unlike Eyewall, it’s not about weather. But like Eyewall, it’s based on fact.

Koltsovo is a real place, a settlement near the southwestern Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Russia, and home to the Koltsovo Institute of Molecular Biology. During the Cold War, the institute was a factory of death.

IT’S NICE TO BE NUMBER ONE

It’s nice to be number one in something, even if it is in giving stuff away.

Belle Bridge Books, my publisher, is running a promotional giveaway for EYEWALL. If you have a Kindle, you can download the novel from Amazon for $0.00… novels for nothin’, books for free. Better hurry, however, the promo probably won’t run much longer.

It kicked off on July 1st. EYEWALL, naturally enough, started out at the bottom of the pack that day, but by evening had rocketed to number one on the “Free in Kindle Store” list. It’s still there as I write this early on July 5th.