IT’S A PIECE OF CRAP

My adult grandson (who is special needs but high functioning) and I were cleaning out my garage recently. He found something bulky wrapped in a trash bag and opened it. “Hey, Gramps,” he says, “what’s this?” I look over his shoulder. It was something I’d forgotten about. “It’s a typewriter,” I say. “A what?” “Typewriter.”…

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WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VA . . . STAYCATION

It’s been a rough year for me—in truth, for everyone—and I decided I really needed to get away from it all.  I needed a vacation.  Unfortunately, that little virus thingy dictated that the v-a part of the “cation” word be substituted with s-t-a-y. Stay?  Nope, not me.  Why let a trivial matter like a pandemic…

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YOU GOTTA HAVE A THICK SKIN

As a novelist, you gotta have a thick skin. It takes a thick skin to get there—being a published author—because along the way you’re going to get hammered with a lot of criticism and rejection. Much of the criticism, if it’s done correctly, will be constructive guidance from fellow writers.  It’s part of how you…

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THE SHANGRI-LA RAIDERS

Apparently I’m a historical fiction novelist now.  My initial foray into the field, When Heroes Flew, has proven surprisingly successful.  On Amazon, the novel racked up over 100 reviews in less than a month, eclipsing tallies for my previous books—even those of my flagship Eyewall—by a number of weeks! Not only that, but the reviews…

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HOW BEING A WRITER IS LIKE BEING A QUARTERBACK ON A BAD TEAM

Those of you who’ve been in the writing business for awhile and have attempted to get traditionally published know what a discouraging, demeaning, difficult challenge that is. It’s like being a quarterback on a football team with a porous offensive line.  You know you’re going to get sacked frequently.  Only in the book business, you…

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GRINDING OUT OREGON GRINDER

Last October, I wrote a blog about why, as an author, I was switching genres, summing up the reason with the statement “because I want to.” That’s true.  But there’s also a hidden story behind the reason.  It deals with weather, the framework for three of my five previous novels.  (As many of you may recall,…

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BIG WORDS VS. LITTLE ONES

One of the beta-readers for my forthcoming novel, FIREWIND, took me to task (which is what I expect beta-readers to do) for using several “big” or “obscure” words when more common words would have sufficed.  He pointed out, correctly, that readers get annoyed if they have to constantly refer to a dictionary.  In truth, novelists are…

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PRESUMPTUOUS?

As I touted the Southeastern Writers Association annual workshop (June 16-20 on St. Simons Island, Georgia) to a fellow writer recently, he interrupted me by saying he thought it “presumptuous” to assume that a professional author could “teach” writing to someone. That took me aback, but in way, I suppose he was correct.  I’ve listened…

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I JUST KNEW SOMETHING BAD WAS GOING ON IN THERE

It’s kinda cool when someone remembers specific scenes from the books you’ve written . . . even if that someone is your brother. My brother Rick and I were chatting a few weeks ago about novels and movies, and he brought up a particular scene he remembered from Plague. “That building with no windows,” he…

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WHY I DIDN’T ADDRESS “COUNTING THE DEAD” IN CASCADIA

CASCADIA isn’t totally a novel.  By that I mean it’s not completely fiction.  The event the novel is set against, a massive earthquake and huge tsunami in the Pacific Northwest, is something that’s really going to happen. In my previous novels, EYEWALL, SUPERCELL and BLIZZARD, I depicted major weather events that, while certainly possible, are…

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