Monday, March 7, 2016

Pat Conroy

I was saddened to learn of the death of Pat Conroy this past weekend.  His novel, The Prince of Tides, is and will remain one of my all-time favorite pieces of fiction.  Like many of his fans, I was eagerly anticipating his next novel, but it wasn't meant to be.  The literary world has lost a great treasure, a wordsmith of the first order.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Death on the Wolf - Audio Version

The audio version of A Death on the Wolf is now available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.  It was a pleasure working with Fred Kennedy on this project and he has done a superb job narrating my novel for the audio version.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite novels and there's no denying that its tone and tenor have influenced the way I write.  This novel is a masterpiece of fluid first-person prose and sublime story-telling.  Therefore, when word came out that a "lost" manuscript by Harper Lee had been found and was going to be published, I was dubious.  How would this book compare to Miss Lee's only published novel to date?  Was it a sequel, as rumored?  Or was it an early draft of To Kill A Mockingbird, which was the more official explanation?

The fact that the story in Go Set A Watchman takes place some twenty years after the events of To Kill A Mockingbird would tend to favor the sequel theory.  And indeed, some reviews are already out calling the book a messy, unedited sequel.  However, one intrepid blogger has done a word analysis of the texts of Mockingbird and Watchman, and the findings should put to rest this issue for good: Watchman is indeed an early (probably first) draft of the story that would become MockingbirdClick here to see how many word for word passages from Mockingbird can be found in Watchman.

So how can the story (and the writing) have changed so much from Watchman to Mockingbird?  Any writer of fiction who has gone through multiple drafts of a novel, usually working with one or more editors, will not be surprised at the transformation that took place as Miss Lee's early effort evolved into To Kill A MockingbirdWatchman shows all the tell-tale signs of a novice writer from a craft standpoint, but Miss Lee's remarkable story-telling ability still shines through.  No doubt the publisher who accepted this manuscript back in the 50s, and the editor who was assigned to work on it, saw the potential and guided Harper Lee to rework and rewrite what she had into a masterpiece.

Should Watchman have been published?  It's not for me to say.  Supposedly, Miss Lee gave her approval with the caveat that the manuscript be published unedited.  If for no other reason, having Go Set A Watchman in print provides a case study in how much a first draft can be transmogrified before its deemed worthy of publication.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I'm really starting to think there are a lot of people out there who actually do not understand the difference between killing someone and murdering someone. In more than one of the reviews of my novel, A Death on the Wolf, a reader has referenced the "murder" toward the end. There is no "murder" in my book. The main character shoots someone in self-defense.  Likewise, I just watched this interview of Donna Tartt (done in London) about her new novel, The Goldfinch. In her novel there is a shooting toward the end where her main character kills someone in self-defense. The interviewer asks Ms. Tartt about the "murder" in her novel, and rather than correcting the mistake, she essentially affirms the interviewer's assertion that the killing was a murder.  Killing someone in self-defense is not murder.  Period.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Experience the Wolf River

If you're ever down in the Gulfport / Pass Christian area of Mississippi and want to see and experience the river that Nelson and Frankie grew up around in A Death on the Wolf, check out Wolf River Canoe & Kayak.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thank you for buying my chips.

I was in the grocery store yesterday and on the snack food aisle I went straight to the small section of Golden Flake products and picked up a bag of their potato chips.  I didn't notice that the Golden Flake man was there stocking the shelf until he said, "Thank you for buying my chips."  I was struck by the sincerity with which he said it; he was genuinely grateful that I was choosing his chips over Lay's and the (much cheaper) store brand.  I responded, "You're welcome.  I like yours the best."

You just never know how something so simple and so routine in your day may have significance (for good or bad) to someone else.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Vincent Black Shadow

This is the Vincent Black Shadow, the motorcycle Peter Bong rides in A Death on the Wolf.