“YOU AREN’T DOING THAT AGAIN”–SOME THOUGHTS ON CHASING TORNADOES

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.

HUNTING UNICORNS

Yesterday, Silver Lining Tours and I might as well have been hunting unicorns as tornadoes. Tornadoes? We didn’t even see a towering cumulus! For awhile, we thought we might have chance at a big storm far to our west just north of the Kansas border in Nebraska, but, like legislation in the U.S. Congress, it went nowhere. So, we ran up the white flag and boogied for Salina, Kansas, where we caught up on our sleep.

We saw a lot of these yesterday…

But none of these…

HERE SNAKEY, SNAKEY, SNAKEY

After pushing northward yesterday from Wichita, Kansas, to Yankton, South Dakota, we got a shutout tossed at our tornado chase team. Thunderstorms did bubble up along a cold front sliding across the northern Plains, but for the most part—-at least where we were in far southeastern South Dakota—-they were run-of-the-mill.

So we packed it in early and bunked down in Yankton. After a marathon run the previous night from Amarillo to Wichita, the decision was welcomed by most of us. It certainly was by this old dog. It was great to actually saw logs for eight hours.

WHAT DOES AN AUTHOR DO BETWEEN BOOKS?

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.