It’s a question I’ve been getting a lot recently, undoubtedly driven by the tornado tragedies in Oklahoma—-“So what’s with all the crazy weather? I don’t remember this kind of stuff happing before.”

I suppose people think I should have the answers, being a retired meteorologist and now a novelist who features supercells, tornadoes and hurricanes in his books.

In fact, I don’t have the answers, but only because the question isn’t right. In fact, this year hasn’t been all that “crazy.” Take tornadoes, for instance.


My wife Chris and I are watching coverage of the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado, the devastating EF-5. It’s gripping, gut-wrenching, heart-rending stuff. After while, we can’t watch any more and turn off the TV.

Chris grasps my arm. “You aren’t doing that again,” she says.

“Doing what?” I ask, not making an immediate connection to any recent transgressions . . . which I seem to be able to perform at regular intervals whether I’m aware of them or not.

“Going on a tornado chase.”

Oh, that. Last spring I’d gone on a chase to gather background for the novel I was working on, Supercell.

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.

The Weather Channel®–The Early Days, Part II

With the 30th anniversary of The Weather Channel fast approaching (May 2), I’ve decided to repost a few blogs I wrote several years ago, near the end of my 13-year stay at the channel. Here’s the second blog of a three-part series looking back at the early days of the channel. Part I can be found here.


August 15, 1983: The rising sun over the Gulf of Mexico tinted a cluster of billowing thunderheads–—the disturbance NHC forecasters were concerned about–—pink and gold as the Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft that had departed from Keesler AFB earlier approached them. The WC-130 made several turbulent passes through the thunderstorms. In the process, the on-board meteorologist discovered a circular wind pattern and falling air pressure. A tropical depression had formed.

The Weather Channel®–The Early Days, Part I

With the 30th anniversary of The Weather Channel fast approaching (May 2), I thought it might be fun to revisit some stuff I wrote several years ago, near the end of my 13-year stay at the channel. Herewith, the first of a three-part series looking back at the early days of the channel.


So what does an author do between books?

Well, to be blunt, there is no such thing as “between” books. “Among” books maybe, or “all done” with books perhaps, but no “between.”

At the moment, I’m still dealing with Eyewall; plotting strategy for the release of ______ (yes, sad to report, there’s still no official title for novel number two); and working on Supercell, novel number three.

I’m currently QCing the audio version of Eyewall. Marshall Seese, the narrator, shoots me several chapters each week and I listen to and critique each one. He’s about halfway through the book and thinks he’ll be done by early April. I can’t wait. Marshall is doing an absolutely super job.

The Rise and Fall of The Weather Channel

In a blog last September I said, “I suppose no one at The Weather Channel is indispensable, but the person who comes the closest is Steve Lyons.”

Now, amidst gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by those who know Steve well, he’s leaving the channel. I for one–and not the only one–see this as a devastating blow to the network.

For almost a decade now, The Weather Channel has been careening down a slippery slope, sliding away from hard-core meteorology (and truly keeping viewers “ahead of the weather”) into the noxious vat of “infotainment.”

Inside The Weather Channel

Now that I’m about to pull the rip cord on my career as a meteorologist and float into retirement on my leaden parachute, it’s time to start thinking about taking my writing in a new direction. At least temporarily.

Brian Jay Corrigan, 2006 Georgia Author of the Year (The Poet of Loch Ness) told me last week, speaking of the publishing industry and new fiction, that it’s “genuinely harder right now to ‘break in’ than it was even two or three years ago when it was only nearly impossible.”