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And so it is written...

On Backpacking and New Beginnings

Lafayette RidgeIn my earlier days, when I had younger knees, I loved to go backpacking in the mountains of northern New England. My favorite place to hike was the Lafayette ridge in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. The exposed ridge goes on for a mile and half along a knife edge, from the summit of Mt. Lafeyette across Mt. Lincoln to Little Haystack. For the entire way,

Ideas are everywhere

What do the following have in common?

[jcolumns model="4" halign="center"] [pb_slideshow group="1"] [jcol/] [/jcolumns] A rustic stone church in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Mt. Etna, the Temple of Zeus in Agrigento, the old merry-go-round in Oak Bluffs, the Chihuly Glass Museum in Seattle, and the Palantine Chapel in Palermo. All of these are sources of inspiration for my next novel, the sequel to The Children of Darkness. I've always believed that the difference between the creative and non-creative person is not the

A Story from Long Ago

This week, a story came out a in my alma mater's alumni site. It started by highlighting the wisdom of my first writing mentor: "'Drama,' Brandeis Professor John Matthews was fond of telling the students in his playwriting class, 'is conflict with something at stake – the higher the stakes, the higher the drama.' David Litwack ’68 was listening closely." The article brought back memories of a time of aspiration and possibilities. I winced a bit at the "nearly

On genres and literary awards

Yesterday, I received word that two of my novels won bronze medals in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite awards. There Comes a Prophet won in the Young Adult – Coming of Age category, while Along the Watchtower won for Fiction – Drama. Of course, I was pleased. But what to make of it? I’d applied to several contests before. All are different, with various categories an author can specify. Most of the categories are genre specific—romance, mystery, paranormal,

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WHAT IS A HERO?

Too often we confuse heroes with celebrities. Rock stars, actors and athletes are routinely admired. Kids love to emulate them and wear their paraphernalia. Not to demean what they’ve accomplished—talent and success are something to be admired—but is what they’ve done heroic?

In Along the Watchtower, Lt. Freddie Williams is decorated with the silver and bronze stars for his actions under

World of Warcraft and Prince Frederick’s Azeroth

Where did some of the ideas come from for Prince Frederick's fantasy world? From World of Warcraft, of course. As research for Along the Watchtower, I played a lot of World of Warcraft. I started when my son, an avid player, invited me to meet him in Azeroth and go on quests together as a way of visiting. With him on the west coast and me on the east, it was an invitation I could hardly ignore.

Role-playing games and the trauma of war

I’ve always been fascinated by how we perceive reality, each of us bringing our own experiences and biases into play. But it's when we’re ripped from our normal lives and placed in extreme circumstances that our reality becomes totally fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war. A couple of years ago, I became engrossed in the online game, World of Warcraft, thanks to my son. I’m on the east coast and

The box has arrived

My smart phone beeps and the tracking text from UPS appears: Your delivery is at the front door. I go to the entrance of the house, open the door and gaze too long at the shipment sitting on the stoop, then carefully bend at the knees and lift it up. I lug it into my office and rest it on the desk, the place where I’ve spent all those hours writing. Then

A Celebration of the Human Spirit

The Boston Marathon course ran past the front steps of the apartment building where I grew up in Brighton. We lived a bit after the twentieth mile, just over the crest of Heartbreak Hill. Since Patriot’s day was a holiday and we had no school, we’d go out every year and watch, a rite of spring, along with opening day at Fenway Park. Back then, there were a paltry two or three
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