Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OK, I'm back

OK, I'm back.  I've been to Utah for a family reunion and then went to California via Death Valley and Trona.  I love driving through Death Valley, even when it is 111 degrees outside, (the car was air conditioned).  Do you know there is a Death Valley High School?  Can you guess the high school mascot?  I would have guessed the skull and crossbones, or maybe just a skeleton.  Turns out it is the scorpion.  Cool enough.

Before I go too far, I've been told I should have put the link to Joel Stein's piece on pole vaulting in my blog.  I thought just telling everyone to go to would be enough, but I was wrong, (not the first time).  The link is:,9171,2119896,00.html .  So how is that?

Next I need to learn how to post images with my text.  Maybe next time.

However, it was amazing going through Trona.  If anyone needs inspiration for a post-apocalyptic dystopian type story, go to Trona.  I spent about three hours there, and every time I go things get worse.  On a weird up-note, someone is actually building a mansion just outside of Trona.  So, if anyone reading this would like to buy a 7,000 foot mansion, with two double garages and a large workshop, not to mention a swimming pool, and several acres, you can pick it up for about half a mil.  Not to bad for California real estate.

There are still many vacant, derelict and deserted homes there, including many that have been burnt to the ground.  The population is clearly receding, while Ridgecrest, (about 20 miles away) seems to still be growing.

Without a doubt, Trona is the kind of place where scary things could happen.  We will get some images for next time.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Just received the Summer Olympics Special edition of TIME magazine.  Actually, my sister-in-law received the magazine in the mail for her dental office.  I take the magazine home for a few days, and then return it to her dental office.  I just love not paying for stuff.

The very last piece in TIME this week is written by Joel Stein about pole vaulting.  It is very, very funny.  Every week when I read TIME (for free), I go to the back of the magazine first and read Joel Stein's thoughts about some irrelevant and probably irreverent thing.  Those thoughts are always funny.  Stein's writing reminds of the great humorous writers of my youth, like Art Buchwald and Erma Bombeck.  This lost art is being revived by Stein.

Good writing is a rare thing to find.  Great writing is even harder to find.  Funny writing is almost nonexistent.  Thank you Joel Stein.

I was tempted to comment on some of his comments that I found especially laugh-worthy, but why give you the abridged edition when you can go to and read it for yourself.  I will say that his subtle jab at the way we write around the metric system, (see the second paragraph) had me laughing out loud.  Unfortunately, an uncommon occurrence any more.

Perhaps I'm just hoping that Stein googles his own name regularly, and will see what an unabashed brown-noser I am, and mention my blog in his next piece.  Or maybe, I just hope that all three of you who read this blog will go and read his thoughts about using a long pole to jump real high, and have an out loud laugh.

We could all use more of those.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


This writing business is an interesting thing.  I thought I used to write for a living.  For twenty-five years I was a trial attorney, which means I did more writing that actual trialing, (made up word, I know, that's a prerogative of writers).  So for twenty-five years I did technical writing with a persuasive bend to it.  Writing fiction is completely different.

Before I would spend at least half my time, if not more, researching and outlining what I was going to write.  I know a lot of fiction writers do the same style, that is, research and outline before the actual story goes down.  But I'm doing it differently.  We have created some great characters, and I'm just kind of letting these character find their way.

I do have a general idea of the plot that is going forward, but I am really discovering the book as I write it, which is kind of fun, but also kind of hard.  Some days I don't get anywhere at all, and some days whole chapters come to me at once.

I'm hoping that by going back to Trona, for a visit, that I'll be inspired as to what my characters in the book will be doing.

I have discovered that creativity is an elusive creature.  Sure, I've always been kind of crazy, not dangerous, (most of the time), just a little crazy, and certainly being crazy helps with the creative process.  But there is more to it.  With the crazy there has to be a little structure, a little substance that holds the whole thing together.  Being an attorney taught me about structure and substance.  Being crazy just came naturally.  Combining the two in a meaningful way, ah, that's the tricky part.

Hopefully it works.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting Ready for Trona

Our book, Pitch Green, comes out next March.  The story takes place in a little desert town about half way between Death Valley and hell.  The name of the town is Trona, and in case you were wondering, it is a real place.  Look it up on Google Earth if you want.  Our family lived there for about six years in the 1960s.  Berk went to junior high and high school there and I went to K through 5th grade there.  Since our time there Trona has gotten even smaller, population wise.  It is the perfect isolated weird little place to set our story.

Before anyone actually from Trona becomes offended, please understand that I love Trona.  I think it was the perfect place to grow up and I always love going back there to visit.  But, it is still a great setting for spooky stories.

The first book is finished and, as I said, will come out next year.  I am working on the sequel, with Berk, and will be going back to Trona the last couple days of July to do some research, and get some inspiration.

I will post on here about my visit there, and will make some other posts before that.  Perhaps by then there will be some people actually reading this blog!

Begin at the Beginning

This blog marks the beginning of an adventure.  My brother, Andy, and I are going to be published authors!  Jolly Fish Press has acquired our young adult horror novel, Pitch Green, to be released March 16, 2013.  Pitch Green is only the first book in our Dimensions in Death series, which gets scarier with every book--according to those reading the 2nd book, now in construction.

Here we go!