What now?

The flurry of the NaNoWriMo is over and I now stare at 50,000 plus words that may or may not have advanced my plot. I find myself bogged down in that bitter middle part of the novel. You know the part of Huckleberry Finn just before the Duke and Dauphin come aboard? When I first read […]

More about NaNoWriMo

Great blog post about this by  Karen Rawson   There are two kinds of writers in the world: those that do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and rise to the challenge of producing 50,000 words in November, and writers that spend the month coming up with excuses why this is not sensible, practical, rational or useful. I’ve always been in […]

An interesting piece on genre fiction

It’s again respectable to write genre fiction. I think that this is one aspect of the demise (or at least rethinking) of Big Publishing that can be construed as positive. The whole idea of genre stemmed from the need to market to specialized segments, but I think it gave rise to unhealthy prejudice. “I don’t like […]

Writing Crap

It’s November, and all over the world writers have chained themselves to their desks, dining tables, library kiosks, Moleskine notebooks and whatever else with one common goal: to write crap. A lot of crap. Every writer worth a shit syas the same thing: first drafts are awful. You need to push through them, get whatever […]

Running Traps

Not what you call a season exactly running long as it does especially taking into account all the varieties of trapping Drowners are common and easy road-lines set in drainage and culverts under bridges where you can see from the truck The law says each trap must be set in at least eighteen inches of […]


I was on the phone with my brother yesterday and he mentioned talking to an old veteran of B-17 combat who was a docent at the Evergreen Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The old guy told him that the oxygen systems needed to be cleared of CO2 lest it build up in the system. I had […]

Pop Goes the Research

I remember a Michael Ondaatje reading where he was asked about his research (for Anil’s Ghost). He said he liked  to immerse himself in a place or a time period and read all the papers and books from that era. Patrick O’Brian told of  spending years at the Admiralty reading the  logs and Gazette articles about […]

Two Raids, Same Outcome

Hawser‘s combat scenes were pretty grueling to write, especially two of them. The 351st Bomb Group, operating out of Polebrook Air Station in the Midlands, started in earnest during the spring of 1943. My August, they were in high gear. All four squadrons flew at least one big mission a week and often more. Many […]

National Novel Writing Month

The bulk of Hawser was written in about twenty days last November. The goal of the National Novel Writing Month is to give us slack-yokel writers our own built-in USMC Drill Instructor so we can stop screwing around and churn out a draft. It’s not really a contest, though they have winners (the way the Special […]

The Mighty Eighth

I am really excited that the team who brought us The Pacific and Band of Brothers is making another epic. This time they are telling the story of the harrowing bombing campaign against Germany with a focus on the awful early period when 60% casualty rates were the norm. Sound familiar? The project, from Playtone Productions, was […]