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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

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

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

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

Another Voice

I recently published, via’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


My novel Down The River is now available through 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

PC Huckleberry Finn

The news item about a publisher cleaning up Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to eliminate references to “the N-word” is both laughable and lamentable. The work is in the public domain so there are no copyright issues or control to be exerted by the author’s heirs so I suppose that the publisher is well within their rights to change the text in any way they like. They argue that this change will bring new readers to the work, as if Twain has been falling out of fashion. This is a

Christmas 2009

It’s been a year of premiers, the big events that mark chapters in life. Where to start? We all strolled the red carpet to meet Kellen Richard Wilma on August 29 (don’t ask what we wore). He is our first grandchild and he continues to enrich all our lives. He even has his own Facebook page. One forgets how, with an infant around, the conversation changes to erp rags, oneseys, and the contents of diapers. Lorraine and I have signed up to watch him one day a week when his mom g


Yesterday, I drove to Portland to meet with a class of twelve university students who read and critiqued my historical novel Down The River. I received the opportunity from Ooligan Press at Portland State University who read the manuscript and liked it, but not quite enough to publish it. Not yet. By having strangers read the book I could get a good sense of what is working and is not working. How could I pass up on the opportunity? I was too late for the winter term, but got


A minor interest of mine (it doesn’t yet rise to the level of hobby) is strategy and simulation games for the computer. I have always been fascinated by things like trains and airplanes and I had a model railroad and dreamed of learning to fly. As an historian, I have studied battles and contests between nations and naturally engage in a bit of “what if.” Before desktop computers I played war games on table tops and even played by mail where we used stock indices to calculate

Marketing the Manuscript

I completed the major revision in my historical novel Down The River that the publisher was looking for. I had one of my writing colleagues, Bob, look at it and he had some very helpful comments plus dozens of typos. Using his advice and comments from the publisher trimmed the manuscript by about ten percent and really tuned up the language. I also tweaked the ending more to my liking (no one minded the way it was). I contacted a literary agent who liked my sample chapters la

The Solitary Writer – Not!

Writing is an individual sport, but the writer is not always alone, certainly not this one. I started taking writing classes in 1995. After every quarter, the students usually spun off into critique groups to continue our momentum at the craft. A good part of the classes was critiquing other students’ work, not just for the feedback received, but to put each writer to work analyzing other work. Every group evaporated after about a year, if one started at all. In 1998, I enrol

The Publishing Front

This blog started as a way to report progress in my efforts to publish my two novels, Down The River, an historical novel, and Tiny Details, a mystery. River has been at a publisher since last spring and the early reports were that the readers liked the book. The acquisitions manager reported back to me that in its present form, they will decline to publish the manuscript. But, were I to make revisions, she writes, they would like to reconsider it. They enjoyed the characters


Getting Published – Now and Then 05/02/2008 I have written two works of fiction and I am actively trying to get one, Down The River, published. The process of getting published has changed dramatically over the past five or ten years. At one time a novelist pounded away at a typewriter (or prevailed upon a skilled typist) until he or she had a manuscript. The process of creation and revision entailed laborious finger and mind work until the likes of John Updike or Kurt Vonneg

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