Category Archives: Uncategorized


The inspiration for a story can start from the oddest of places, and the resulting novel may end up as distant from that seed as an acorn is to an oak tree. My newest novel began on a cloudy spring day in Ballard, Washington. I had an appointment that afternoon that left me with some time on my hands, so

Book contests and the author’s fluctuating mood

If you asked my wife, she'd tell you my mood fluctuates up and down with my writing . If the words flow easily, I'm up. On a day when  the right words escape me, I'm down. The same can be said about acceptances or rejections, and good reviews or the inevitable (but thankfully rare) bad review. Then there's contests. Let's be honest--there's a certain arbitrariness about book contests. Tastes in book are

From concept to cover

I recently completed the cover for my upcoming novel, The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. The daughter of the title is Kailani, a mysterious little girl, raised in deeply religious society, who sails into a purely secular world. Through the trials of its characters, the book explores the clash between reason and faith, and the redeeming power of hope and love. But how do I show all this within the

The man in the arena

Okay. I’ve been meaning to post this but have been cowed for fear it would be taken poorly by critics. I think it’s time. We, as authors, work hard in isolation. Very few will have significant success. For some, their fondest dream is that a handful of people will read their work and be moved by it, be changed in some way. Whatever our aspirations, no one but close friends and family

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,

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

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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

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The Maker of Worlds - Coming Mid 2024