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Serendipity

The origin of this book came in the early 1990s in my family history research. I stumbled across a query in an old journal mentioning my ancestors and asking for information about their murders in 1813. Their murders?! The query was then about ten years old. I wrote a letter to the address provided on the hopes that the person had not moved or died. The bad news is that she had moved. The good news is that she had moved next door and got my letter. Martha Heineman was a retir

The Lost Cause

The tragedy in Charlottesville and ensuing cacophony has inspired me to offer my perspective of the history involved. The monuments in question, hundreds, even thousands of them, were erected by proponents of The Lost Cause narrative of the Civil War, a series of myths that sought to rationalize Southern suffering. The purpose of the monuments was to say, “We lost the war, but we will win the peace.” These edifices and their inscriptions were the work of local groups like the

My First Podcast

I was honored to be interviewed on the Writers Groupie podcast. I moved my desk around so that my bookcase was in the background and I raised my desk to the standing position. #writing #history #podcasts #Publishing #novels #criticism #video #books #fiction

Game of Thrones Oh My

I saw the first episode of the first season of Game of Thrones As of this writing I have finished Episode 8 of Season 2. Or is it Episode 7? At this point it doesn’t matter. I am in the middle of a raging river being carried downstream. Take your pick, excellent writing, incredibly imaginative plotting, compelling characters, stunning settings and sets (Ireland, Malta, Morocco, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia) and amazing costuming. The un-costuming is great too. Are there no over

Anticipation

Remember when, for two weeks in December, the truck pulled up in front of the house to deliver that package from the grandparents?  That was such a special moment where the plain box with strange writing in your name on the outside. What was inside? If it was Christmas, inside only delivered more mystery in the form of a gaily wrapped package. There might have been other deliveries through the year, some mail order, but maybe only one. Fast forward to the 21st Century. With o

How are you listening?

Rather than get into a TLDR situation, I’m going to break things up. How to listen to audio books and podcasts. Most listening these days is private rather than public or communal. Everyone is plugged into their own thing through their portable devices. As I mentioned, this is a loss. It’s possible to play the audio book (or podcast or music or news) through a speaker system so that more than one person can share the experience at once. The devices plug into speakers and ther

What are you listening to?

As posted here before, I have begun to explore audio books in addition to hard copy books and e-books. In the past month or two I have tried several audio history books, one about Winston Churchill. Kudos to the actor who reads the narrative for his ability to get into character for Churchill, Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt, and French, British, and American soldiers and politicians. No wonder audio books retail for more than the hard cover versions. There is a lot of talent goin

Selling and Buying

Today I bought and I sold via Amazon.com. I tried to buy toys for my grandsons the old fashioned way, but when I got there, the toy store was gone. I walked into the mall and they don’t have a toy store there. So I drove ten miles to another store. But they had only one of the things on the list. After two hours and twenty miles all I had to show for it was some dumb Play Doh. I went online and ordered the things off the Amazon list which I should have done in the first place

What are you reading? Hearing?

I usually have two books going at once, one a work of fiction and the other some kind of history book. With the Kindle I can have three or four going at once. I’ve been nibbling at the Memoirs of Ulysses Grant for more than a year, but that doesn’t count in the two. The basic Kindle has a limitation in history since maps don’t do well and maps are pretty important. The iPad* does maps better, but it’s not as convenient as the Kindle. The iPad is prettier, but heavier. The iPa

What are you reading? Steve Jobs

I am reading the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson which I recommend from a number of viewpoints. First, it’s well researched and well written. Isaacson talked to dozens and probably hundreds of people and had the advantage of unlimited access to the subject himself. And Jobs was, at best, a difficult subject. Jobs picked Isaacson and then took his hands off the project. His only area of influence was the cover design and he was, reportedly, his typical butthead self

Another Voice

I recently published, via Amazon.com’s print-on-demand program Create Space, my historical novel Down The River. The story grew out of my family history research when I came across the murders of two of my ancestors in 1813 in an argument over slaves. I was taking writing classes through the University of California Extension in San Francisco and started playing with scene and setting and all the other techniques one needs to grasp. I landed upon the idea of telling the story

Published

My novel Down The River is now available through Amazon.com. A Kindle version will also be available soon. Buy it. Read it. Review it. Tell your friends. Here is a complete list of my other titles from Amazon. #writing #history #Publishing #novels #criticism #books

What are you reading?

About everything I can get my WiFi around. The Kindle Santa brought me has transformed my lierary life. I have purchased and downloaded a dozen or more books and have many more waiting in my wish list as soon as I get through this “stack.” I have adopted the practice of having one work of fiction and one of non-fiction underway at a time. Since they are all in one device I don’t need to keep track of two physical books and once done, I don’t have books to store and dispose of

Power For The People: A History of Seattle City Light

Yesterday Mind Over Matter host Diane Horn interviewed me on KEXP Radio FM 90.3 about my history of Seattle City Light. Click here to go to the station archives and select November 20, 2010 and 7 am. Then you choose your media player. #history #Publishing #CityLight #books #media

Publishing Update

The two books I did with the late Walt Crowley several years ago are now available through University of Washington Press. Power For The People tells the story of Seattle City Light and Hope On The Hill is about Seattle Children’s Hospital, the old Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. The publishing game being what it is I had not seen either work for some time and it was with great joy and some wonderment that I reread what I ha

KUOW Presents

Today I was interviewed on KUOW FM 94.9. The segment is twelve minutes condensed from an hour conversation with producer Dave Beck. The piece is archived here. #justicesystem #civilianoversight #lawenforcement #Vietnam #books #media

Flogging My Wares

Yesterday I had a book signing, probably one of the fantasies of those seeking to be published. The wannabe author imagines being seated at a table in an upscale bookstore surrounded by fresh copies of The Great Work. It is just before 10 a.m. and faces of anxious customers peer through the windows hoping for a glimpse of their hero. At 10 the doors open and they flood in to grab the precious copies. The book seller is prepared with burly salespeople, ID cards around their ne

New Books

I received good news this week. University of Washington Press is listing two books of mine in their online catalogue. The first is Power for the People, the centennial history of Seattle City Light. I worked on this for Walt Crowley and History Ink more than five years ago, but publication was delayed by Walt’s illness and death. It’s a fascinating story, if I say so myself.The utility started in an era of go-go capitalism where corporations and trusts had their way with U.S

New Contract

The folks at Turner Publishing Co. in Nashville have a new project for me, Historic Photos of Seattle in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It’s the same format at the book I did a year ago, Historic Photos of Puget Sound which “did quite well” according to Turner. As with the first book, Turner started with readily available digitized images of the era and asked for captions, chapter introductions, etc. Having been through the process before it was easy to get my arms around what was ne

Opening for the centennial history of Seattle Children’s Hospital

Six-year-old Alice lies half reclined on the stretcher struggling against asthma to breathe. Her alveolar sacs are paralyzed and her lungs feel stuffed with cotton. She is slowly suffocating. A plastic mask supplies her with oxygen and medication. When she opens her eyes, she can look straight out the front windows of an Agusta A 109/Mark II helicopter as it speeds east through the night across Puget Sound. Assistant Chief Flight Nurse Sherri Kruzner-Rowe – Sherri K-Rowe to h