Category Archives: My Books

The Circus

Lucifer’s Promise is published.  Sales have been good so far, and so have the reviews.  I have speaking engagements to discuss the book, 10 Goodreads copies are in the hands of readers, and additional review copies go out daily.  All of this is the part of writing I like least but, if you want people to read your books (which I do), you have to spread the word.  More and more, unfortunately, it’s the author’s job.  But it’s not much fun. Continue reading

Lucifer Is Here

My new novel, Lucifer’s Promise, is now available at all the usual places.  I’m in the process of updating the website but, for now, go to “Works in Progress” for a description of the book and what the critics are saying.

My priority now is to finally complete The Nun’s Dowry.  Look for it before the end of the year.

New Hope Tour (cont’d)

The main characters in both Gods and Lesser Men and Lucifer’s Promise are Harry and Alexis Monmouth.  They live in the “oldest dwelling-place” in New Hope, a “Federalist ‘farmhouse'” at the top of the hill on High Street.  It’s actually the former home of bandleader Kay Kyser whose middle daughter, Carol, was a childhood friend of mine.

Where Harry and Alex Live

Where Harry and Alex Live


Pre-Publication Chores

Lucifer’s Promise will be published sometime next February.  In the meantime, other things must be done.  After much back and forth, we’ve finally decided on a cover.   It depicts a building central to the novel at a critical time in the story.  I’m still working on the back cover copy.front

We’ve also sent the current manuscript to authors and critics for comment.  Some of the responses will (hopefully) be included on the back cover and first few inside pages.  We’ve already heard from Diane Donovan who reviews ebooks for Midwest Book Review.  I’ll share her last few lines because they validate what I preach so frequently on this page. Continue reading

Lucifer’s Promise and Genre (Again)

The critique of the first draft of Lucifer’s Promise is finished, and the revisions have begun.  The primary criticisms are:  1) Too much exposition early in the novel, and 2) Willful ignorance of reality regarding one of the principal ideas.  I attribute the first problem, which has arisen to one degree or another when writing all my books, to my legal training.  Briefs and arguments in court always begin with a recitation of the facts before getting to the meat of the case.  A novel, on the other hand, requires that something important be revealed early on in order to engage the reader’s attention. Continue reading

Historical Fiction?

When my second novel, The Black Owls, was published, an Amazon Reviewer referred to it as “historical fiction.”  I puzzled over that for a few minutes–the book is set in 1979.  All the historical fiction I’d ever read took place in the 18th or 19th century in the midst of wars and conflagrations where the cavalry was horses rather than tanks and men fought with swords or single-shot rifles.  Perhaps the idea of what historical fiction was had changed.

Citing the Historical Novel Society, Wikipedia says that works in this genre are “written at least fifty years after the events described,” and quotes someone else who holds that such novels are “set before the middle of the last [20th] century . . . in which the author is writing from research rather than personal experience.”  A woman named Lynda Adamson says the historical novel is one “about a time period at least 25 years before it was written,” and adds “that some people view a novel as historical if it is about a past time period, even if the author was writing about his or her own time.” Continue reading

A Rewritten Book

Books aren’t written–they’re rewritten.  Including your own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh re-write hasn’t quite done it.”–Michael Crichton

I’m not sure how many re-writes I’ve done on Lucifer’s Promise over the past few weeks, but it’s time to stop and let someone else have a shot.  The word count has gone from 72,000 to 74,000 and back to 73,000.  Words, sentences and paragraphs have been revised or eliminated.  Premises have been bolstered and abandoned, characters enhanced and diminished.  I’ve even changed the font–from Times New Roman to Century. Continue reading

Point of View and The Nun’s Dowry

Point of view (POV) in fiction is the perspective from which the story is told.  Two of my novels–The Kingfishers and Gods and Lesser Men–have one POV, the protagonist/narrator, told in the first person, which means only that which he perceives–with the occasional injection of authorial exposition–is available to the reader.  Other characters speak and act–in the third person–but the inner dialogue so important to fiction is “voiced” only by the narrator.  It is both intimate and limiting.  Lucifer’s Promise, currently nearing first draft stage, is told the same way. Continue reading

An “Almost” First Draft

Today, eight months since I began writing it, I have an “almost” first draft of Titan’s Brood.  Three hundred twenty manuscript pages (73, 812 words), it is now ready to be put on the shelf for a month or two.  I know I’ve reached that stage when I begin haggling with myself over a few words I’ve changed five or six times already, only to return to the original.  Sometime in October, I’ll print it out and go over it one more time (50 pages a day), then forward it to the fellow in New York who will tell me what’s wrong with it.  Work on the final draft will probably start around the first of next year. Continue reading

Places In My Head

I’ve written about place in fiction in this space before (see Place in Fiction, Dec. 5, 2013).  “Place” in that earlier post referred to a region or county or town wherein generations of characters could live and die and bring a story to life, but there are places within a “place” that also serve as useful touchstones for writer and reader.  This is especially true of writers who attempt to portray, and perhaps preserve, a particular locale through a series of works.  Faulkner comes to mind.  Continue reading

Titan’s Brood II

When I began work on this novel in January, its primary story lines involved corruption in college football and a man’s effort to save his dying wife.  Those ideas still have prominent places in Titan’s Brood, but the genetic revolution–the amazing (some would say frightening) advances in gene manipulation arising from the mapping of the human genome–is now front and center in the book. Continue reading