Archive for September, 2013


I recently finished Jeff Shaara’s historical novel, The Final Storm. He has written numerous novels about war, from the Revolutionary War to World War II. He tells a gripping story along with providing a history lesson of the conflict he relates. His approach is to follow important historical figures, such as Eisenhower for World War II, along with the experiences of the common soldier, men who fought the battle.
The Final Storm tells the story of the latter part of the war in the Pacific, from the battle of Okinawa to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. There is a great deal of detail given to Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. This was a poignant read for me for I met Tibbets about eight years ago. He passed away in 2007.
I’m a member of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum. Every year for about the last twenty years the museum has held World War II Weekend on the first weekend in June. Fighters, bombers and transports from the war make their way to Reading Airport in Pennsylvania for the event. Along with the aircraft are military vehicles and reenactors all bringing history to life.
Also present are individuals who played a part in the conflict. For a few years Paul Tibbets was one of the invited guests and that is how I met him. I wish I had read more about him before that occasion. I knew what he did but not much more about the man. I can’t remember what I said to him after shaking his hand. I still cherish the moment but wish I had known more about him.

September 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment


While riding the train to work, my neighbor would read science fiction. Long retired now, he asked me if I would like science fiction books. I, of course, was more than enthusiastic and bags of books came my way and found a home in my study much to my wife’s displeasure. If you saw my study you would understand her fear for it is overflowing with books read and to be read.
Recently, I began reading these classic works. The authors include the likes of Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula Le Guin to name a few. Most were published in the fifties and sixties costing as little as fifty cents.
The novel I would like to discuss is one I recently finished reading, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein. This book was interesting in that it dealt with the future, a future which is already our past.
Heinlein published this novel in 1956 so it was probably written in the early fifties. The setting of the book is 1970 and the main character travels, via suspended animation, to the year 2000, both needing the author’s speculation of what life would be like in those years.
His take of the not too distant future of 1970 is most interesting. There is talk of a nuclear war with the United States being the target, but it is handled as no more than a minor inconvenience. The year of the war isn’t given and neither is the adversary. My thinking is that it could only be Russia who developed their bomb in 1947. Also, in 1970, robots are beginning to take over the mundane tasks in both domestic and commercial settings. When he gets to the year 2000 he finds society completely changed. The story deals with more of the social rather than the technological changes, but there is a scientist dabbling with time travel which plays an important part of the story for it allows travel into the past. However, this can only be accomplished with great risk for the scientist can set the length of time but cannot control whether the subject goes forward or backward in time.
What amazes me is how the author envisions both years, to compare reality to what he predicts. The world today is full of robot used by industry but nothing like the talking androids, human-like creatures, created by the minds of Asimov and Dick. Time will tell.
I enjoy reading ‘dated’ science fiction and see the author’s take on the future and compare it to what has come to pass.

September 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm 1 comment


I don’t know about other writers, but when I read work by a successful author, especially one writing in my chosen genre, I have a desire to mimic the voice of that writer. After all, their voice has worked where mine is less than well-known. However, I resist temptation and, for better or for worse, adhere to my own style, my own writing voice.
What determines a writer’s voice?
Perhaps the most important element is the writer’s life, his experiences along that bumpy road to his vocation and hopefully his avocation. Certainly his age is a determining factor. I began my writing career at an advanced age, some would say almost elderly. And as I stumbled down my own road, I was molded by what I experienced. I sometimes wonder what words I would have produced had I begun writing at an earlier age and how my writing would have developed as I aged.
I feel another determinate of a writer’s voice is the genre you choose to work in. I write science fiction and horror. Science fiction is terse, detail oriented with the story and plot more important than character development. Horror leaves more room for character development but also depends heavily on atmosphere and a host of nonhuman characters. Horror tends to be more ‘wordy’ than science fiction.
These are my opinions on what goes into developing a writer’s voice. For you writers out there, am I on target or completely off the mark?
Someday, time permitting; I may try to stretch my voice into other genres.

September 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment


You have read what I have to say about writing and what characteristics, I think, a writer must have to be successful. What is the meaning of success?
The meaning of success, to me, is the ability to put coherent thoughts on a blank page which will strike a chord with a fellow human being. In some small way I consider myself to be successful. The response I receive for some of the pieces I post on my blog talk to that end.
Recently I have had new readers begin to follow my blog. I welcome them along with other readers that have found interest in what I have to say. I consider you all my friends and hope you find what I have to say interesting and informative.
For those new to my blog, you can find advice on writing and reading along with short stories that have been published and both published and unpublished poetry.
I am also providing a link to my publisher, Melange Books, where you can purchase my novel, New Moon Rising.
Once again, welcome to my new friends.

September 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment


One of my favorite nonfiction authors is Erik Larson and I’d like to share some of his work with you.
I have read three of his books, Isaac’s Storm, Thunderstruck and The Devil In The White City and found them to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Isaac’s Storm deals with the hurricane of 1900 which devastated Galveston, Texas. This occurred before hurricanes were given names and resulted in the worst natural disaster this country has ever experienced with over 6000 lives lost. Isaac was Isaac Cline, the Galveston weatherman when the profession was in its infancy. Larson deftly describes the drama of the approaching storm and the bewilderment it causes until reaction comes too late.
Thunderstruck takes place in the early 1900’s. In this book Larson parallels the experiments and development of wireless communication championed by Guglielmo Marconi with a murderer, Harry Crippen. Marconi’s invention results in Crippen’s discovery and capture while he sails from Europe to America. The history Larson relates and his expert telling of the story results in a fantastic read.
The turn of the century sets the scene for The Devil In The White City. The focus year is 1893. The Devil is Dr. H. H. Holmes, one of the first serial killers. The White City is the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Larson follows the building of the fair and the many trials which must be overcome to accomplish its opening. Intermingled with the construction of the fair are the many crimes of Dr. Holmes and how he uses the fair to lure his victims, mostly young women, to his hotel of horror.
Erik Larson’s work of nonfiction offers the excitement of fiction while covering historical events.

September 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm Leave a comment


The following is my observation of the writer to be constantly aware of the world he or she occupies. I do a great deal of reading, both fiction and nonfiction, and as I read find a great deal of depth some authors give, to their characters in the case of fiction or the events they are recording in the case of nonfiction, by asides that bring to their writing, details which enliven their work, springing from the well of their life’s experiences. These details are born from a life spent closely observing their world. Only from my limited experience as an author do I speak of the importance of a keen sense of observation necessary to enhance your stories, bring life to your characters, to add dimension to their experiences.
To those experience authors who may stumble across this blog, I am perhaps stating the obvious, the power of observation and the ability to file those observations away. Then as a character is being developed, you go back to that well of memories to breathe life into that being of your imagination.
Can this strong power to observe be taught?
When an individual decides to become a writer, if he hasn’t already spent his life in absorbing the world around can he suddenly begin?
Are writers born or created?

September 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment


September 2013

Posts by Month

Posts by Category