Author’s Corner

Each month I select a topic from a survey of several Master’s Of Fine Arts Programs, conversations with other authors & artists, questions from readers or interesting tid-bits you need to know about the writing process and comment on how it ties into my novels.

January 2023 New Release La Razza Di Trenta Nove The Race of 1939 

In the fall 2022 my fast moving and highly visual historical fiction novel will be available.  As that day approaches I am releasing more details on the technical aspects of publishing a novel of this size and scope.  My previous posts revealed two very important inspirations for La Razza Di Trenta Nove.  Please read them. 

Although there is no solid precedent for having a Table of Contents or Chapter listing in a fiction novel, I have embraced having an index beyond the simple enumeration in the front of the book.  A good index grabs the reader’s attention with an a la carte styled selection to browse conveying the excitement that guides you into the first words on the first page.

i    Milan, 1938.  The vision of Niccolò Giangele                                 

ii    Oklahoma, USA. Michael Streets and the box car races          

iii    Berlin and The Kommandant                                                        

iv    One Race to Save the World

v    Michael Dreams Big                                                                         

vi    Kristallnacht                                                                        

vii    Father versus Son                                                                              

viii   Saving the Farm                                                                                 

ix   One Race to Rule the World

x   A Woman in the Race

xi   Battle of the Races              



October 2022 The Second Inspiration.  (Last month I announced the first of two inspirations for La Razza Di Trenta Nove.)  As another war was eminent in Europe, the United States was recovering from a financial disaster and dust bowl famine.  In response to these tensions the U.S. geared up its industrial and technology sectors in an effort to save the country from internal and external collapse.  These actions ultimately revived the economy, increased the U.S. GDP, funded new ideas in research and built the most powerful military force on the planet, but it was not without consequences to individuals. The United States raced against time as the axis of evil continued to expand as Germany and Japan showed no sign of giving in, until a new technology entered the scene. 

Battle of The Races is inspired by “Batter My Heart” from John Adams Dr. Atomic.  This breath taking aria performed in baritone reveals the personal conflict Oppenheimer struggled with in the rush to create the first atomic bomb.  The ultra fast moving duo competitive scherzo is the essence of the Battle of The Races and in the ending pages of La Razza Di Trenta Nove it kept me in the surprising and climatic ending.  I was excited about translating Adam’s theme and energy from this section of his libretto into my story.   I highly recommend you experience both of these inspirations.



September 2022  The First Inspiration. La Razza Di Trenta Nove.  With just over 60 days away from the release of my new historical fiction thriller La Razza Di Trenta Nove, I am unveiling two inspirations for this novel.   La Razza Di Trenta Nove was born from my passion of early 20th century European history and the underpinnings of two world wars.  A great part of my fascination was the rise of power of Nazi Germany prior to World War II.  The Nazi SS, Storm Troopers, Kommandants and Gestapo ascended to cult status icons in the decades following the fall of Germany.  They were malevolent, depraved, evil and directly responsible for the murder of millions of people, most notably Jews and I wanted to include this in La Razza Di Trente Nove.  Writing “Krystallnaught” was important to me and difficult, until Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3.  The soul stirring and spirit wrenching soprano pulls every note through me in a lento that keeps me in that moment of peril that seems to last forever, and this was before I understood the lyrics.  The text screams an urgent and impaling cry from a mother that stretches from the concentration camps of 1939 to now: 

“Oh, you bad people….In the name of God, the most Holy…..Tell me, why?…..Why  did you kill my son!”

I am incredibly moved by the piece and from there I was able to complete ‘Kristallnacht’ inspired by Symphony No. 3 from Henryk Górecki


May 2022 Two colors divided by a series curves, strikes and dots.   As we go further down the digital road, e-books on the various digital platforms are continually evolving and grabbing a greater share of the publishing market, but how have these platforms affected the delivery of the story?  I asked some of my writer friends this question.  Most, like myself, discovered the bells and whistles of e-readers are a distraction from writing the story and they choose not to write for the platform feeling the multi-media aspects can easily sidetrack an e-book and suddenly the story becomes…. a text book.  I embrace the challenge of transcending and building a world built upon words.   For most writers it is about the story, how it is written and the language that takes the reader beyond the two dimensional constraints of the text on the page to a place of dreams and imaginations.  All of this with two colors divided by a series curves, strikes and dots.


January  2012 La Razza di Trenta Nove: Part 1: Keeping the Reader in the paragraph
In today’s world of tweets, texts, vlogs and snapchat readers are being herded and trained to get the message in the smallest possible character count in a ‘just get the headline’ grab that leaves the body of substance on the back page. However, there is no better way to keep a reader in the page than by containing them within a paragraph. Traditionally, a huge block of text within the page is used to move the storyline by giving background information, the thoughts and feelings of a character and to set up contextual information. I wrote La Razza di Trenta Nove with the intent to create a visually stunning historical fiction story. Doing this required an expanded use of descriptive text in everything from bringing to life the bustling and beautiful streets of Milan to the drab and dusty arena in Oklahoma. A four hundred word paragraph was also not uncommon when delving deep into the darkness of characters such as a Kommandant leading the push to spread the Nazi cause or exploring the internal motivations of an ideological Italian engineer, or the pinning’s of a secret US government agency. Readers seldom break from a paragraph so keep them in a big block of text and they will keep reading.


June 2021 The February Triumph: Memoir first person writing for fiction, walking on water
New authors wanting to write a first person fiction novel are often challenged by the task of using the term ‘I’ in a context that does not directly describe them. It is natural to feel that terms like I , me and my would engender impressions of self ownership, but for the newbie fiction writer it can sideline the creative process. I often encourage young writers to first write a true story about themselves. It is the first steps to what I call ‘walking on water’. You begin by writing a true and detailed accounting about your life staying close to factual events with an extensive use of I, me and my. The Gospel Truth. From there, add in light embellishments cloaked by subjective terms such as ‘I thought’, ‘my impression’, and the ubiquitous ‘I feel’. Next, change the context of an event and lastly take a huge leap into the unbelievably and walk on water.


March 2021 La Razza di Trenta Nove: The one sided character versus the complex
How do we decide whether a character is forever one sided or complex? A one sided character is usually the embodiment of a short list of very similar emotions or dispositions. In La Razza di Trenta Nove, Kommandant Lugert is evil, cruel and crushing from the beginning all the way through the end. It is a necessity that when the reader expects him in the story that it is not a good thing and there are no ‘mixed’ emotions about him. In this case the one sided character easily and clearly establishes the antagonist. Other characters that are more complex develop and mature with wider oscillations above and below their center until they finally settle. A simple method in establishing (or determining) whether a character is one sided or complex is a comparison of the word count dedicated to each character. Complex characters have a higher word count. Michael grows from an Oklahoma farm boy, to a rebel with a cause to the organizer of a band of heroes looking to save the world.

December 2020 The February Triumph: A Memoir Writing A Memoir, Part Two – The ageing process.
In Part One the basics of the memoir is compared to a fine wine, a Bordeaux. A fine wine changes its condition through a long process of fermentation and similarly, the memoir must mature. A memoir can be difficult to write because the story must also evolve and age to its most potent, palatable and unforgettable body. The February Triumph matured alongside my recognition of depression as a fiercely potent disease, one that is deeply personal and imparts an intimate frailty. The point of view of a man suffering from depression became a more full bodied story as the disaster aboard the ship, in good times and bad, fueled the disease and we began to see my depression in its different forms such as emptiness, self denial, irrational fear and anxiety. As the minutes of each day tic away aboard The Triumph and one tragic turn lead to another, the description of the depression intensified revealing these different tones. You experience this transition in The Characters and The Cake as reality became more animated and two dimensional, emphasizing the lack of wholeness and connection to people, hallmarks of depression in men. This is the ageing process of a memoir and for The February Triumph it occurred as my depression moved away from its broad general base to one, two or three very specific descriptions and triggers.

July 2019 The February Triumph: A Memoir Writing A Memoir, Part One- A fine Bordeaux.
A memoir is different from an autobiography. They are both true stories of a real person’s life and include a historical rendition with few embellishments and may include the subject’s perspectives, feelings and thoughts. A memoir is different in that it is driven by a singular event in a shorter time frame than the years of an autobiography’s life time. A memoir is also different in that conveys a very specific emphasis on a feeling, emotion, psychological or societal condition. Shortly after the tragedy aboard the Triumph, within minutes, details on what we experienced emerged in short pulses of saved tweets, blogs and posts.
But, when do you write a memoir? Is the time frame of when it is written significant?
In fact it is! The closer we are to when the story occurred the more likely we are to report the events of the story and that is usually underscored by a broad emotional response to the immediate situation. An important factor in a memoir is the maturing of the story’s usually singular emphasis. Compare a memoir to the aging of a fine wine, a Bordeaux. Time, is a maturing factor in both and makes the story, like the wine, better by smoothing out the one high emotional tone into separate more definable peaks. The memoir becomes refined and ripens to include feelings, perceptions and reactions to a persons fear, hope, love, despair and happiness. This sometimes subtle maturing process gives a memoir its very particular and specific shape, or body, and like a Bordeaux this takes time. In Part 2 of Writing a Memoir, The February Triumph we’ll consider the effects of the aging process.

March 2016 Introducing The February Triumph: A Memoir
A memoir has always been on the list for me, but I felt it would be very far off into to the future, somewhere near when all the ink has run out of the pen, if you know what I mean. And suddenly there was The Triumph, the ill fated February 2013 sailing out of Galveston Texas touring the Western Caribbean. In the early morning hours of Sunday, February 10, a fire and explosion occurred that crippled and disabled the ship leaving it stranded in Atlantic Ocean far off the Yucatan Peninsula. It was a perilous time and dangerous experience as the incompetence of Carnival Company was as wide and deep as the Gulf of Mexico itself. The ship was completely disabled with no propulsion, no buoyancy system, no communication, no plumbing, no running water and no ventilation. Food supplies ran dangerously low as urine and feces saturated the floors and walls. An author’s dream right? If it’s a horror story – yes! Days later, amid a quite vivid anamnesis, I was propelled back to that week as I recognized it as the absolute height of my depression, an ascension I was propelling shortly before going aboard. More than 18 months in the creation, The February Triumph: A Memoir chronicles this life changing event at sea that occurred simultaneously with my struggle with depression. Depression is a dangerous disease. In 2013, over 41,000 people committed suicide due to depression and many, many more continue to function at high levels of impairment, but there is always hope for relief. The February Triumph is dedicated to that hope for me, Angelica and to the memory of Robin Williams.

December 2015 : The 44th Amendment: The American Way – Conducting prose and tempo.
“Thinking about the possibilities of what she could learn her heart raced. Her husband never knew. She sped home from work every day. She ran lights and stop signs. A rush came over her. A near panic excited the woman. Her eyes darted across web pages that changed faster and faster. Her fingers beat and shot across the keys. The keyboard screamed with short burst like a machine gun. It all moved so fast. She drank a full cup faster than she could take in air.” This young woman is experiencing the ecstasy, power and addiction of the information grab offered by the Data Wars. I gave this section opposing tempos. Yes, novels like music have tempos! The excitement of the beginning is in presto with shorter sentences and single syllable words, but when the information later betrays her, largo. After this betrayal, or turn, sentences become longer and stay on single focus. This is prose and tempo. Readers enjoy tempo in short sections. Done correctly it can isolate a sub-story easily opening the section and neatly closing it. -Please send me your favorite short verse that has a tempo.


November  2015   sEXPOSITION: Telling vs Showing the Story: The 44th Amendment

The 44th Amendment builds and describes a new and different American society.  In doing this I made use of exposition, or narrative story telling, and showing the story with action.  Telling the story through narrative exposition generally worked best when I was faced with presenting volumes of essential and important information quickly such as the colony surroundings or the new Washington D.C.  However, sex is best not an exposition! (pun intended).  Sex implies action and showing this action captures the reader’s attention slowing the overall storyline to one moment.  Developing a balance between telling the story and showing it is a delicate process that has a direct effect on the novel’s success with the reader.  As a guide I feel too much narrative feels ‘preachy’ and pulls the reader away from the novel’s world and too much action tends to stall the story.  The 44th Amendment is not about sex but contains to brief sexual encounters and by coincidence Drake was in the position..ahem.. to both show and tell the sex in each.  Here is a short example of the difference between the two     …….TELL: “The first time Susan and I made love I could see she was afraid.” –………SHOW: “Stuffed into a small closet Susan trembled until Drake’s hand grasped her breast and her fear was gone.”   Patricc

January 2015  Moral Play in the 22nd Century: Looking For the Genius

There was a time when a novel length story could be summed up in a one liner about moral play.  The vanquish of ‘goliath evil’ by young fragile innocence, the equality of women in society and so forth.  From whence or maybe around the same time came the singular hero and villain personifying each side the moral issue.  It is here I have created the character of Elizabeth Pico in Looking ForThe Genius, a young girl who’s cycling conscience of id and ego polarizes her community pushing them to separate sides of a central moral issue, a little girl.  They had to move further into each extreme with only a gentle nudging from the central character’s presence.  I accomplished this by having that cycle turn within a few lines.  Consider the first time William called the Pico home:

“A young girl with a firm and assertive tone answered the phone.  “I am sorry Mrs. Pico is not here.  Would you like to leave a message?”

William quickly flipped to the folder cover and scanned the summary which stated only Elizabeth and her mother lived in the home.  “I can call again.”  He hesitated some.  “Is this Lizzy?”

“Please hold.”

The receiver fell silent for a moment until a girl’s soft delicate voice returned.  “This is Lizzy…”


December 2013 Rush and excitement of La Razza

“Camy, can we build a racer like this?  Can we build one of these?” 

Camy scrubbed his chin in the palm of his hand.  “Michael I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to do this.  I want this as much as you do.  I can’t look at the old dirt track the same way again nor Silver for that matter.  No, we cannot build one of these racers at least not from scratch.  We would have to buy the frame, chassis and engine and build from there.” 

In doing the research for La Razza, a memorable mark for me was the entrance of Mario Andretti as a full-time racer in 1975.  I missed the saga of James Hunt and Niki Lauda that has recently come to the big screen in the movie Rush.  I favored the Formula 1 style of the 60’s and 70’s and moved them into the late 30’s.   For me it was Andretti that brought the excitement of the race alive.


November 2014  Looking For the Genius: Foreign language usage

The 21st century, the internet, television and the broad interchange of knowledge has had a subtle often unrecognized influence on literature.  It is far easier to incorporate a foreign language into a novel without having inline interpretations.   Clara and Lizzie are Americans living in deep in southern France, so when the Lizzie crosses paths with her fathers family a lot of French is used as when Clara revisits her and LeMarc’s first encounter and he says: “Est-ce que tu crois au coup de foudre au premier regard ou est-ce que je dois repasser ?”

 Most authors can now expect readers will reference line.  Indeed, I think now we can expect readers to sit the novel aside for moment and find the translation online or as e-readers progress you can pierce into the meaning embedding by the author without interrupting the story.   



October 2014  A year later  The Hunt For Red October

In October 2013 and the author for The Hunt For Red October is died.  Tom Clancy, the father of the iconic U.S. military and intelligence novels featuring the high morale, smart thinking and fast acting Jack Ryan died October 1, 2013.  Clancy was on record many times stating his wanting and will to become part of the U.S. military.  He was denied.  In place of his actual participation, Clancy recreated the perception of the United States military and intelligence face.  Clancy unraveled complex intelligence initiatives and perilous military objectives into a story that seemed ripped directly from the headlines.  Ryan was his knight in shining armor and Jack always came through.  I recommend Tom Clancy’s “Clear and Present Danger”.        



September 2014  The 44th Amendment… Protagonist: Mixing flesh and blood with form ideals.

Most first time writers become embroiled in defining characters as people and attributing roles to them.  Therefore identifying the protagonist as a person is an easy way to embody a thought or belief, because that person can say those lines that define the characters’ role.  In The 44th Amendment the subtext of our wonderingly conflicted human protagonist is muted by the greater text of another protagonist, freedom.  Defining the protagonist is not limited to lines.  It is also includes the action of the personification.  In this way, characters can react to the presence of freedom and if done correctly the actions and reactions of others around this central point validates the protagonist.  Unfortunately, you CANNOT mix the two.  The rule is (my rule) an ideal as protagonist can only be balanced by an ideal as an antagonist.   Read The 44th Amendment and find out who the antagonist is….or rather what..    


August 2014 : Understanding the Point of View

Most writers consider character point of view when drafting their storyline. Decisions are then made on whether to use a character’s point of view or narrator. Using the character point of view is a tricky proposition and requires a greater consistency focus then narration. Character point of view can come from ANY object in the story, in fact the character does not have to even speak! Point of view can come from a rock, a flea, a floating cloud. The rules for identifying character point of view is both vague and specific. First, the character must be an object in the story. Although the character, object, may not have dialogue it must have attributes. Attributes can be feelings, reactions or the ability to influence changes in the storyline or influence the reader to identify with the character or if the character has dominance in the storyline. Defining the character point of view is a challenge and good writers can are marked by their mastery of this concept. Also, point of view can shift, as it does in Looking For Genius , first coming from Clara then subtly to Elizabeth as she emerges and dominates the storyline. . . . . . . .

July 2014:    Write what you know.

Write what you know.  Authors receive this advice at some point near the beginning of their career to get them off the (writer’s) block and going.

“Write what you know,” is more inspirational than practical because it leaves the beginner in a particularly difficult spot.  It forces you to ask “What do I know?”  Turns out if you have to ask yourself this question then you might not know a lot.  Having something to say is a good start to developing a written story, but the age old adage is ‘not written – not done’, which implies what you must also know how to write.  Fiction is the most difficult genre to write for as it generally puts the writer in full creative mode.  That creativity embodies both the story, the language used to tell the story and the assemblage of the fictional world, both in form and letter.  The 44th Amendment, the American Way is a compelling fictional story taking place in new America of the distant future, a fictional world….a brave new…new world.

June 2014 La Razza Di Trenta Nove :Style & Language Development:

“ ‘Kwicck!!  The commissioner pressed his radio button and it screamed a sharp eerie static before he spoke.’

Onomatopoeia is the use of a word that describes a sound.  You may have seen this before when you read of a ‘thud’, ‘buzz’ or ‘pop’.  In order to take you into the pre World War II era of 1939 I had to extend the use onomatopoeia to grab sounds and put them into the story and make them memorable and attractive to the ears.

I want you to hear the sounds.  “ ‘Kwicck!!  The radio cut through again.’ ”

The best way to do this is to pronounce and announce.  I recorded myself and sometimes others making the sound then interpreted (not translated) that sound into syllables that make sense and would flow easily.  This is the pronounce.  And yes, use the sound that people make and not the actual sound.

Next, provide the meaning of the sound.  This is the announce.

I used repetition of pronounce & announce in the sections to follow shortening the announce until you are left with a sound you will never forget.

“ ‘Kwicck!!’

May 2014 writing in the age of the e-book

Reading in electronic formats has been a long time coming, but what do e-books mean for writers?

It is in fact a mixed bag.  Consider Moses.  I would like nothing more than to open my balcony doors with text in hand affront of thousands, hold it up to the heavens and have it last for five millenniums.  Writers now have that type of immediate access to a mass audience.  We can go from thought, to text, to published and before the eyes of millions if not billions in a matter of minutes.  Ahh…The wonders and blessings of the digital era and the internet.  However, as carrier of the most respected text of all time very quickly discovered, not all of the congregation are believers, and resistance to the message, the messenger or the medium such an immediate distribution can be just as swift.

April 2014  Putting Historical into Fiction: La Razza Di Trenta Nove

There is a certain level of comfort when writing a story that takes place just before World War II.  This time is well documented in fiction and nonfiction so people well know the cars, buildings, dress and landscapes of the era and the war continues to entice and tantalize readers.  So the setting is half done and ready for characters and plot!  Not quite.  In La Razza Di Trenta Nove I reveal a never before seen 1930’s creating a new setting in this classic scenery rendering a time and people the world does not know.  Placing history into La Razza Di Trenta Nove was not an easy task.  I wanted readers to experience a new and different life of the 1930’s.  I accomplished this very effectively by bringing the people and language into the 22nd century while sustaining the 1930’s style and setting.  On occasion, however, I had to update the setting and place a later historical into the earlier fiction.  For example, Camy summarized his experience at the special interest group’s top secret facility to Michael and says.  “They have a production line unmatched anywhere in the world.  It is a high tech facility that uses lasers to finely cut and check the engine pistons.”  The facility was a bit more revealing and obviously lasers did not exist at this time, and neither did the term ‘high tech’.

March 2014 Looking For The Genius: Plot Development

“One way to effectively develop a complex plot is through repetition (An approach heavily adopted by the American author Tom Wolfe).  Few people can read a 60,000 word novel from cover to cover in one sitting so it is necessary to bring them back to a focal point of the plot and the repetition of lines can do this.  And by repetition I do mean using the exact words.  This can be done be carrying over the taglines of the storyline, characters or setting every so often to each section to keep the plot fresh in the reader’s mind.  My subtle adaptation of this included having other characters, separate of each other, continually channel Elizabeth, verbatim.  In Looking For The Genius the words of Clara, Dr. Buchannan and William and even the villains are the words of our hero.”

February 2014 The 44th Amendment: Character Development

“Memorable characters draw readers to either love them or hate them.  For example, the fictional John Proctor invokes an image of unwavering courage in the face of persecution.  I had an additional challenge in The 44th Amendment of developing characters that change over decades as they grow older.  This is no easy task because you do not want to lose the reader’s interest by wholly changing their character experience as the character changes over time.  I used the marquis diamond approach and assigned four primary attributes to the characters but only one primary attribute was up at a certain time.  As time goes on the diamond rotates emphasizing another aspect of the character.  But beware do not use anymore than four attributes at most!  This was very effective in evolving my anti-hero protagonist from an abused teen through rebellious middle age to ablution.”

January 2013  A tribute to the end. (REPOST)   Many fiction, nonfiction, religion, history, philosophy and even science books have predicted 2012 will see the end of the world.  There is a loyal, if not delusional, following for all of these readers who actually believe it will happen.  General readers love it!  There are more books written on the world ending in the year of 2012 than any other year in human history.  Within these categories people are entertained, enlightened, charmed, horrified all while driven to the edge of facing the end of human existence.

Though I do not believe the world will come to an end in 2012, (and it did not), I do marvel at how these books have had such a powerful interest across so many people.  So when January 1, 2013 comes remember this historic year in literature for what it was and what it was not.  PS…Just in case of a slight miscalculation in time you can feel comfort that our literature will survive.

December 2013 : Looking For The Genius:  The Genius in Ray Bradbury

Each year there is always a passing of a literary legend that is significant to me.  I will never forget the late Friday evening of November 12, 2010 when I tuned into a WGBH broadcast of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 and smiling to hear one of my playlist favorites on the radio, only to learn after the broadcast he died that day.  On June 5, 2012, the death of Ray Bradbury, an essential American great in science fiction, marked another such moment.  I was immediately propelled back a few years when the Ray Bradbury Theater rebroadcasts appeared on television.  Those moments took me back to the original broadcasts in the 1980’s igniting my interest for Ray Bradbury.  Not very often does a reader appreciate an author after experiencing an adaptation first and in the case of Ray Bradbury, particularly bad adaptations of his novels and shorts stories.  This is a hallowed accolade, for Ray Bradbury created a science fiction that only words in text could convey.  His words in text.  FAHRENHEIT 451 is one of many of Bradbury’s works that marks him as a genius at enwrapping readers into his story and vision.  No greater honor exists for a writer who wishes his (or her) story is first remembered and second lives in the reader’s life.  Put it on your list – read it – let Symphony No. 3 play in the background and you will see and feel mankind’s personal and intellectual struggles of the mid twentieth century.

November 2013 La Razza Di Trenta Nove History in the Pulitzer Prize

2012 marked a special year in which there was no Pulitzer Prize awarded in the fiction category.  The Pulitzer Prize in fiction has been awarded since 1948 (known as “Novel” preceeding this year going back to the first award in 1918) and the last time there was no award in the fiction category was 1977, additionally occurring in 1974 and 1971.  Have we run out of ideas?  Certainly not!  Fiction can run the gamut of ‘Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons’ to the historical fiction of my La Razza Di Trenta Nove.  Fiction is the most important literary category in the prize offerings.  It requires the preexisting premise of- -nothing.  Fiction authors create the premise molding it into story.  In La Razza, you will get into the real world of 1939 experienceing the dry tart air of a dissipating Oklahoma farm to the staunch tight feel of Nazi German leather to the pungent odor of men in women in a heroic age.  Some of the most seemingly absurd premises become great literary works of art by way of the author’s skill, imagination and creativity.  La Razza Di Trenta Nove is what you did not know about 1939 and what you will never forget. In that year, 1939, the soft and endearing novel The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, was selected for the prize.  A nature book unlike Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons.

October 2013:  The 44th Amendment: The American Way Pacing the story.

Author’s sometimes face a daunting dilemma of how to pace their story.  I mean, really, we know how we want the novel’s story to end and so the question becomes how many words do we use to craft the epilogue.  Along the way, a story’s complexity or even a single character can greatly expand the number of words, but that does not necessarily translate to a long-winded tale..  For example, in The 44th Amendment: The American Way, a briefly existing associate of the main character Timothy Drake retells the story of how he came to the colony.  The novel has a serious tone so I used this opportunity to inject some humor into the novel.  The novel keeps its pace and briefly oscillates to a lighter side.

In the end, the creative story writing process wins and good writers reject how to best write for the reader.  Once the reader is hooked in, they will read.  They will read not just to get to the end of the story but to experience the journey along the way.  Surprisingly, the words on the page stay with us longer than we think.

September 2013 Looking For The Genius.  Adding sound to a voice. 

Creating a new femenera means developing the origin of her voice.  Early in Looking For The Genius, Lizzie’s voice began to come out before her character emerged.  I built expectation of her by having everyone talk about her.  Clara. Aunt Sophie, Dr. Buchannan and Professor Jamison focused so much of their life on Lizzie they began to channel her.  Lizzie is soft, innocent, gentle and naïve.  Giving her this voice is the most important aspect building her character.  It is more important than how she walks, what she wears and even more important than her history.  Until that is, the femenera.  Elizabeth’s VOICE is just as strong in the end as it is in the beginning.

August 2013 –La Razza Di Trente Nove...

World War II continues to fascinate us because we point to it as the pinnacle of human triumph over the defining evil in the 20th century.- A race of people who rose up to conquer and control the world.  Even more, WWII is fertile ground as a backdrop for other stories we have missed and need to be told.  Love in a time of war.  Family in a time of war..bravery, deception, fear, change…etc, etc, a time of war.  World War II instantly becomes an interesting and legitimate back drop to tell a story.  All of things occurred during this time and these stories are true. La Razza Di Trenta Nove,  A Race in a time of war.  For Michael. Cammy, Niccolo and Allan, it is there time, their war and it is their story.  It is their race.

July 2013 ANNUAL SERIES: The 44th Amendment: The American Way – The other side.

There are MANY books, stories and novels on 9/11, but surprisingly not much

Pablo Picasso's Guernica

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

art.  I think Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is an excellent representation of how we need art in translating the story, no matter how graphic or painful the memory.

In honor on the 10th anniversary of the US attacks on 9/11.  Let us remember how it changed our lives.  The US response to 9/11 is a catalyst for the future 44th Amendment.     Here is an excerpt from mid way in the novel.

The old woman tells how it all began:  “When the two buildings in New York were brought down and the attack in Washington on September eleventh two thousand and one the government went on full alert.  It was obvious there was a very serious weakness in the American way of life and no amount of police force or military might could plug the hole.  A huge gap existed between the operational level of the terrorists and the intelligence here to detect them.  Public sentiment, initially, was with the government as America went to war to keep terrorists under foot.  More importantly, the war turned our attention from the fact that we were vulnerable and terrorists used our weakness to strike at the very heart of America.  And it worked.  The terrorists took their time; they were patient, resolved and dedicated to their purpose.  The strike was successful because they kept quiet and hid deep into American society woven into our arrogance so tight we could not see them.  It was unthinkable that America would be attacked in this way.”

Raphael’s’ Saint George and the Dragon’

JUNE 2013 ANNUAL ART SERIES: La Razza Di Trenta Nove

La Razza Di Trenta Nove: Urbino has a long history of royalty, arts and showmanship as with Count Baldesar Castiglione’s “The Book of The Courtier”. Urbino features prominently in the La Razza di Trenta Nova as the Italian home of highly polished and pristine uniform racers. These racers, similar to the Raphael’s’ Saint George and the Dragon’ represent the epitome of aristocracy and gallantry without flaw in fellow or steed. I idolized this perfect balance of muscle, grace and color in Team Urbino racers in homage to this styling and historic perception. Allan joked with his father Niccolò that team Urbino was racing with the blessing of The Pope singularly upon them. Castiglione had another important task…He delivered Raphael’s’ Saint George and the Dragon’ painting to Henry VII of England. A similar act is performed between Niccolo and team Urbino!

MAY 2013 ANNUAL ART SERIES: Looking For The Genius.

I liken Elizabeth to James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s ‘The White Girl’.  

James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s ‘The White Girl’

‘The White Girl’ was a departure that time’s contemporary American schools of thought on art, one that practiced a uniform procedure in realism, where as Whistler felt ‘let the artist create’ and incorporated a variety European and far eastern artistic influences.  This duplicity in artists’ style perfectly exhibits the duplicitous nature of Elizabeth in  Looking For The Genius’  To Whistler, ‘The White Girl’ was a return to an exercise of creating a masterpiece by not following the concrete rules of a structure.  Elizabeth’s presence is very

anti-love story and runs against the soft social nature of the storyline.  She is a corner of Whistler in realism.

APRIL 2013 ANNUAL ART SERIES The 44th Amendment: The American Way.  Medieval and Renaissance artists, refusing to be limited by the fact that a picture can only show one moment in time, often represented several scenes of a story in a single composition.  (Reference Gozzoli ‘Dance of Salome and Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’).  Because of the vast passage

Gozzoli ‘Dance of Salome and Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

of time across two separate lives I needed something similar to occur in The 44th Amendment to keep the readers mindful that the life of Timothy Drake loomed in the distance of Senator Chapman.  Quincy gently poses a question to Chapman about his earlier days and his first case.  Chapman laments and suddenly Drake, the colony and The 44th’s Amendment’s premise, the question of freedom, is presented in

just a few lines.

January 2013  Meeting the end.

A tribute to the end.   Many fiction, nonfiction, religion, history, philosophy and even science books have predicted 2012 will see the end of the world.  There is a loyal, if not delusional, following for all of these readers.  There are more books written on the world ending in 2012 than any other year in human history.  Within these categories people entertained, enlightened, charmed, horrified while driven to the edge of facing the end of our existence.

Though I do not believe the world will come to an end, I do marvel and revel in how these books have had such a powerful interest across so many people.  So when January 1, 2013 comes remember this historic year in literature for what it was and what it was not.

December 2012  The 44th Amendment The American Way—Same words, different worlds, The Two sides of freedom.

Approaching an election year we are often reminded of the freedoms American’s love.  The concept of freedom American styled has defined the both the 20th and 21st century.  They love our freedom because it comes from many different kinds of people in many different kinds of circumstances.  I needed to illustrate this between Senator Chapman and Rodney Drake.  They both fight and explicitly say they are fighting for freedom.  To contrast how their fight was different but the same I needed to ‘show’ it around them.  I did this by making their words the same while putting them in worlds.  Drake’s life is dark filled with blacks, grays and white confined in a space so small you can almost see it in the pages.  By contrast Senator Chapman’s world is large, near limitless, filled with colors and sound.  Senator Chapman has everything in the world so why fight for freedom?  Rodney Drake has nothing, so why not fight for freedom?  It worked very well especially in the reversal at the end.

November 2012: Looking For The Genus:  The FEMENERA

Femenera (noun): A woman of extraordinary super human power and ability that fights for good in the defense of mankind.  In Looking For The Genius, this is Elizabeth, a femenera, a superhero that is a woman.  Male superheroes, by definition, have been around for centuries.  Even the Bible’s Sampson classifies him as a superhero.  Femenera are a bit harder to find and define until the early advent and use of ‘superhero’ in the 1940’s.  Even so, there has been no word that uniquely and definitively identifies and separates a male versus female superhero without the masculine hero base.

Literarily, this has always bothered me because I felt heroine was disingenuous and that women should have there own word.  So, I introduced one, femenera.

From Looking For The Genius:

“Now that you have dropped this big case on me where are you headed next?”.  Dr. Buchannan asked pushing away from her desk.

“I have a meeting with MI6.  They asked for my help profiling this new strong arm taking down Europe’s crime lords in such a spectacular fashion.  Speculation is…. it could be a woman.”  Professor Jamison said after a long ponderous pause. 


“A woman?”  Dr. Buchannan raised an eyebrow to the suggestion.  “That’s uncommon.”


“If it is true we have a modern day femenera.”

October 2012: La Razza Di Trenta Nove:  Drafting the antagonist

Set in the pre-World War II era, it is not difficult to identify the protagonist in La Razza Di Trenta Nove.  It is of course, THE NAZI’S!  Yet not all of their tales of villainy have come to light.  Kommandant Dranger, for example, had humble beginnings believing in and celebrating the pride of his people.  In its simplified form you must have an antagonist if there is a protagonist.  Dranger matched Michael Streets perfectly as they both ventured from the path of the forefathers into a new direction of self determination.  Michael is good and Dranger is evil.  Good must confront evil.  This defines the antagonist and protagonist roles embodied in persons.  Dranger’s story, however, is more than just he is an evil man.  I am ordinarily inclined to explore why he is evil thus giving him a three dimensional appearance.  Once this was established I was free to unleash his incomprehensible levels of malice.  The antagonist personified.

September 2012: Looking for the Genius.  A guy writing for a girl

I wrote Looking for the Genius from a woman’s world.  The main characters are all women and so it would follow the story would appeal to women.  There is of coarse are heroine Elizabeth, her counterpart and Elizabeth’s mother Claire.  But how does a man write women and write for women?  Gender aside, I think essentially it is not what is written but more the context in which it is written.  Women don’t seem to go for the science story, however if the same story is refocused to the human struggle, it is attractive to a wider female audience such as in Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.  What happens to Elizabeth is truly extraordinary and unlike anything ever imagined in fiction or science, yet Looking For The Genius is a story of one teenage girl’s struggle for identity and independence.  If a spot light stayed on how Elizabeth evolved, the story could have turned far too technical.  Everyone must take a side on the human story before William discovers the true nature of what Elizabeth’s individuality is and how it was obtained.

August 2012 The 44th Amendment:  The American Way :The Literary flashback

In television and movies it is very easy to employ the ‘flashback’.  Flashbacks are when the narrative changes from the story’s primary tense to a previous time frame that is also rendered in a present tense.  This usually occurs when a character in the story tells a previous story by taking you that time.  True, just about all novels at some point render a back story, but this rendering is in the past tense.  Flashbacks are different in that they are rendered in the present tense.  This is a story within a story with the exception of the character as the narrator.  We don’t see it very often because it is also a relatively new technique and the transitions are difficult .  To parallel the lives of Senator Chapman and Timothy I placed a very short flashback in both of their settings.  For Timothy Drake this is how I transitioned from the present tense to the …past present tense….

‘He franticly fought to keep control of the vehicle as it tossed from side to side in the pitch darkness of the night.  He eased off the accelerator and gently applied the brakes stopping inches from an old abandoned pier.  In that instant of deceleration before the car came to a complete stop he found a moment to reflect upon the last good feeling he had.  The first time and last time he tasted freedom.  The images and stories came back to him as a collage of news reports intermingled with his own dark and tormented memories from five years earlier:’

To aid the reader in recognizing the following was a flashback I indented   the entire flashback section.  An excellent idea!

July 2012:  La Razza di Trenta Nove.  TAG your it!

Michael said.  He said.  Michael exclaimed.  He screamed and so forth.  Writers are often faced with the question of how often and when to identify which character is delivering dialogue.  This is referred to as the dialogue “tag”.  Tags are useful and needed when there are more than three people delivering dialogue at one time.  Tags are also combined with the narrative to intensify the characters Thought, Action or dialogue (TAG for short).  We are now so used to tags that it is thought (and hoped) most readers look over them and they have become an accepted part of modern novel writing.  I say modern because, comparatively, prior to the 20th century dialog tags were scantily used and were used in a very different manner.  This was partly due to the prominence of the staged play.  Then, writers wrote both for prose and stage plays and wanted a strong differentiation between the two, from the reader’s perspective.  Story telling in novel form was different.  The narrative dominated the text in a second person form which limited the characters first person presence (the opposite of the staged play) and the need for the character to render the dialogue.  Since In La Razza Di Trenta Nove has a lot of action many of my tags.  “We will all die if they are not stopped!”  Cynthia beat.

Easy tag guidelines:1)Tags are meant to be subtle, do not let them trip up the reader.  2)Keep the tag at one word.  3)Use tags in at the end of long passages.  4)Do not vary your tags, “said and thought” are time honored tags.  And lastly, 5)if you don’t need it don’t use it.

Remember Thought, Action or dialogue.

June 2012: Looking For The Genius: Planning to write and improvisation

Yes.  Plan your novel.  Develop an outline, write it down and each day add elements to the outline you wish to explore.  Start at the beginning of the story, continue through the conflict then to the end.

I developed a rudimentary outline for Looking For The Genius over a six month period before beginning the novel.  Elements of the outline included the story’s general premise and characterizations.  Do not be surprised when other subplots come forward!  For example, in discovering what happened to Elizabeth, her family and friends must also decide what they must do also.  These issues often come up later.  I made a side note to revisit them later.

YES.  Improvise.  Continuing with the theme from last month, the use of language is very essential to the planning process.  The planning elements include the general story outline AND IT MUST include the language.  Language is the style in which the author translates the story.

May 2012: The 44th Amendment-The American Way Developing Characters Over Time

From beginning to end, the 44th Amendment: The American Way, covers a five decade lifespan in the major characters lives.  Knowing that we are quite different people at age 17 versus age 70 it was important to develop a language for the characters that also matured.  I wanted you to feel the subtle maturing of both the main characters.  (As a note, for shorter stories and novellas this is NOT recommended!)  The beginning chapters are young as are the characters.  The language is hurried, sharp and edgy often the sentences are shorter and filled with idealistic emotion in both the narrator and characters.  Later, you will notice the language becomes more philosophical and well thought out.  Midway through, the oratory in the senate introduces this maturity in its verbose styling.

April 2012: La Razza Di Trenta Nove.  Using 21st century vocabulary in historical fiction.

A lot has changed in 100 years, especially the English language.  The year is 1936.  A new racer with higher performance values debuts.  A character in this novel describing this machine and says: “This is the latest technology…”  But is it technology?  Rather, is the use of the word appropriate in a historical setting where the word ‘technology’ had not been invented (or was in very limited use)?  Can a 1930’s character use late 20th century terminology?  This is very tricky, but here is a simple rule to follow:  ‘If it is innocent and common use it, if not, don’t.’  Yes, your character can use some of the vocabulary of the day as long as it does not distract attention from the historical setting.  Your reader should mentally assimilate it with no questions asked.  For example, in this 1930’s historical setting a character can say “This racer uses a rotor disc brake.”  But the character should not say.  “This racer uses a rotor disc with anti-lock brakes.”  Finally, never forget your narrator.  If you are confused or stuck on exactly what the character can and not say you can pass that line to the narrator.  Narrator can use any vocabulary or terminology available to tell the story because the narrator exists outside of the story itself.

March 2012: The Great Opener, Looking For The Genius

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”  This opening line from Charles Dickens ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ has transcended ‘great opening status’ to becoming popular verse in modern times.  Although everyone has heard this time enduring opening few can identify the novel, its author or the details of the story.  Great openers are usually limited to smaller literary works than the novel and are most often an axiom or shocker.  Authors are often ill-advised to drop the shocker opening in the first lines to keep your attention and want to find out more.  I am not very fond of the shocker opening, however, in Looking For The Genius it works well to introduce Elizabeth…and Lizzie.

Looking For The Genius:

‘Do not take your eyes off this page.  Remember every word here.  Remember.  You must.  You must know this and this is why I need your help.  Someone is trying to kill me.  Who is this person and why must I die?  I need your help because she only comes when I am sleep but I cannot remember who she is.  I do not want to die but she is always there taunting me.’  The scribbling on the small notebook page winded to an end.

February 2012: Fall of the Political Hero: The 44th Amendment – The American Way

Continuing the conversation for July; power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely (John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1834–1902).  This is the byline of political hero’s memorial and just as with Senator Chapman the source of the corruption differs from the source of power.

The Political Hero is different from the traditional tragic hero.  The traditional tragic hero is aware to some degree of his failings and we empathize with the tragic hero because we see him struggle and unsuccessfully fight against that failing.  There is a time period of transition.  For the political hero it is sudden and comes out of no where.  We are surprised and the revelation causes us not to emphasize.  In fact the reaction is that the political icon deserved his ending.  We do not pity him yet, there are always signs when you go back that indicate the crack of corruption.  Something that just does not sound right and is ignored.  Listen to Senator Chapman’s first wife, Katherine on her death bed:

All your life you have fought for freedom.  You at least have something in common with that story in the bible, the one where Moses led those people out of Israel to freedom.  God loved him for that so I know you have a place but what about me I wonder.  I want to know God better Porter.”  Suddenly Katherine was exhausted.

Moses in Israel?

January 2012: Character vs Story: La Razza Di Trenta Nove

Michael Streets or La Razza?  Novels are well wrapped presents.  Characters, scenes, conflict and storylines are the bow, ribbons, wrapping and box of a present.  Excitement builds as each layer is revealed!  So, untie the bow, remove the ribbons, pop the paper seams and dive in!

Finishing a novel is opening the author’s gift and you walk away either centrally remembering a character or the characters situation, i.e. the story.  At some point an author must decide which is more important, the character or the story?  There is a subtle yet well crafted technique I used In La Razza Di Trenta Nove to reveal the story as the focus without leaving Michael, Camy, Anna and the others behind.  Each of characters have small conflicts to resolve and they are unaware of the impending and perilous nature of the race nor are they cognizant of the civilization ending potential involved in La Razza’s higher storyline.  Keeping the characters in the dark allows you, the reader, to exploit the element of surprise which more often than not is a situation.  Discovering these hidden elements drives you deeper into the story at the same time as the characters do, but more importantly it shifts the focus from the character to the story.



2011: Use of Language: Looking For The Genius

I love language…rather different languages, and in today’s internet connected world it is easy and fun to add a different language in a story.  Looking For The Genius is set in France where many of he characters speak French, but how do you keep a pin in the readers mind that a different language is spoken between the characters without using that language?  Since Elizabeth, being endowed with great strength and ability, she is the perfect Rosetta Stone.  Consider this quick exchange as she infiltrates the lair of an international crime boss:

‘A man with blundering and barely intelligible French leaned the side of his face against the door and yelled.  “Tell the boss the whore is here!”   .
The door quickly closed behind her in a solid slam and the thug said.  “You speak French?  You are supposed to be a Jap!”      .

She bit.  “Koko wa kusai.  Anata wa kirei ni shite kudasai!  Tawagoto no anata wa shibō-    bukuro”

A craterous smile engulfed the thug’s face just surpassing his ignorance as he said.  “Ahh     yes, the sweet sound which I love.” ’


2011: Invoking the senses: Writing The Impossible – A Political Hero.  The 44th Amendment: The American Way

—–In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’—–

“Political Hero” has risen to the level of oxymoron.  A political hero’s life is too often asterisk laden and annotated by scandal quickly turning the political hero into a political zero.  In the 44th Amendment: The American Way, Senator Chapman is a political hero and in establishing his “hero” meant writing in attributes first making him a protector, because protectors are heroes.  One approach I used is having him acknowledge and speak on how good intentioned law is easily turned in a bad direction.  Add in his enormous political power and legal influence Senator Chapman becomes a Political Hero.  This is Atticus in the courtroom.

“There is a saying in the capitol that goes ‘whenever a law is passed to restrict an activity three unlawful acts rise to take its place.’”….Senator Chapman.  “We must be on the watch for these unlawful acts, because they can quickly become laws.”

See previous blog on the revelation of the Political Hero oxymoron

2011: Invoking the senses: La Razza Di Trenta Nove

“My dad would say that all the time and I never knew how he could smell the rain the coming.  He would come on the porch covered in horse shit and pig slop stinking for miles and say ‘smells like rain on the way.’  He was always right.  I asked him about it once and he told me that ‘you just know because it smells fresh and clean. It cleanses the senses and rejuvenates you the wind brings it in and covers you.  It is the gentle calm before the badly needed storm.’ He said it as if it were a natural sense for all people.  It is not.  Smelling the rain is something only farmers can do Camy.  I could never smell the rain.”  Michael said…..

Gathering you into the story means grabbing the senses.  We remember more details of an event when a smell is associated with it.  Invoking the senses is a powerful way to keep interest long after the page is turned.  Michael Streets has this moment taking you to a small corner of his life and although he could not smell the rain you can!

2011: Transforming gestures into words: Looking For The Genius

Creating and crafting a good scene and dialogue between characters often requires the use of gestures.  Gestures are non verbal expressions of the face or the body.  The larger and more popular category is the facial gestures because it is used quite frequently on the page.  We know these as a smile, a frown or a more complicated: “Elizabeth scowled in disdain instantly turning her face from simple disapproval to a snubbing rejection.”

Body gestures usually involve the arms or hands.  Again, the well known clap, waving good bye or THROWING THE BYRD!  Some gestures are not so easy to convey because they can become complicated and long descriptions for just a moments notice.  My advice, keep it short and simple.  The reader will either get it or focus on the scene.  In Looking for the Genius there is moment where Professor Jamison has an unusual gesture:

William’s eyes flew around the room and voice stumbled again and he said.  “I, I did not confirm.”

Dr. Buchannan looked to Professor Jamison acknowledging William was being deceptive.

“You fool!  She hypnotized you!”  Professor Jamison exclaimed.

The professor rolled his wrist and hand above his head as if paying a tribute to Dr. Buchannan and said to her.  “Please do the honors.”



2011: Breaking the 4th wall: The 44th Amendment: The American Way

The 44th Amendment contains polarizing, vibrant and at times strong language in drawing a line between its two fights for freedom.  One fight is undertaken by Senator Chapman and another different fight for freedom taken by Timothy Drake.  I wanted you to become part of their fight for freedom and choose a side.  One very effective method I used was to make the characters seem to speak directly to the reader (while actually speaking to another character or audience).  This is anecdotally referred to as breaking the 4th wall.

As the author of The 44th, breaking the 4th wall was effective later in the novel after you have already chosen a side.  Consider Drake’s introduction to a new spiritual perspective. “…The two sat across from each other in an awkward silence staring at the book in front of them.  He placed two fingers at the top of the book and slid it across to Drake’s hands making a sound like sand paper across an old wooden table.  After another moment of silence he said to Drake.  “You have a decision to make.  Either keep reading or stop here.  You can’t help but to hear your own whispers as the words you read go from your eyes, through your mouth to your ears and into your brain you know these words have weight and are the heaviest things in the universe.  This not just a story or a long entertaining novel.  Look as the words together as I am about to read them to you ‘……”


2011: Death and Killing in between the pages: La Razza di Trenta Nove

Creating a novel is a symbiotic relationship for most authors.  Two years is a good average time from the first word penned to publish ready so it is a long time with the people, places and events in the story.

An author creates the characters and the characters become part of the author.  Due to the impending World War II time frame this was especially true for La Razza di Trenta Nove.  Some of “La Razza’s” main and supporting casts meet their ends rather tragically.  Readers love to see a villain get his just deserves and for the heroes to survive.  We want the people we love to live forever.  I did not want a blood bath of violence nor was killing off my beloved good guys (and bad) that carried the story was not very palatable, as a writer.  (Remember, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle initially did not have the greatest affection for Sherlock Holmes and after killing him off- brought him back.)

To ease the transition from the racers bravado, whether good or bad, to Micheal’s heroism I used literary ghosts or references to the characters say that they are still there but at the same time not as important as the main character at this time.  These were one character saying what another one said, or friend of the demised carrying on the cause.  It is easier for the reader to keep reading and not dwell on the death and killing between the pages.


2011: Looking For The Genius: A novel approach to storytelling:

Okay, pack all your friends whom you have not seen in awhile into a car, drive them across town to a bookstore and buy each of them a book of their choice.  That could be a great story, but what will be its focus?  Your friends?  The ride and conversations to the bookstore?  The books your friends chose or the conversations back?  Depending on the writer a novel or short story can spring out of either of these roads!  Or perhaps all of them.  I began Looking For The Genius as a metaphor and argument for individuality in a modern world with the focus on a shy and timid little girl who could not make the decision for herself.  Building that construct soon morphed into other Genius characters that exceeded my focus on Elizabeth, thus the story became the memorable and sometimes funny little journeys along the way.  These are journeys cross events, personas, conversations and literary word play.  With such a wealth of options how do you stay on task?  With each line I curved the smaller inroads closer toward Elizabeth.  I frequently started with a broad event unrelated to Elizabeth but ended on her.  Meet the end of the introduction of young William Amorest:

Under the tutelage of Professor Jamison, the first time young William meets Elizabeth he is supposed to observe her but instead he is taken by her innocence, beauty and intellect.  She does far more than just impress him.  A bit later William must explain to Professor Jamison and Dr. Buchannan how Elizabeth was able to obtain their plan on her treatment.  After listening to his seemingly normal explanation Professor Jamison says.  “You fool!  She hypnotized you!  This Elizabeth is far more clever than we know.”2011: We have arrived in the future:  The 44th Amendment: The American Way

The second decade of this new millennium begs for a review of novels that were written in a not to far away future.  In ‘The 44th Amendment: The American Way’ I explore the future of life, freedom and democracy in The United States of America by softly intermixing three America’s:

an America that should be, an America that should not be and an America unchanged.

Creating this world is the prerogative of the author but I am always fascinated by how twentieth century authors pictured how contemporary late twentieth century future life should be, should not be or how it would be unchanged.

If you have not done so already add these classic titles to your reading list for 2010 and take a look at how our future was described from the minds of the twentieth century’s greatest writers.

How the future should be. First stop.  Right now!.. ‘2010: Odyssey Two’ written by Arthur C. Clarke published in 1982 takes a 30 leap into the future to a space faring 2010.  I like 2010 because of its optimistic tone and easy to acclimate language.  A must read.  (In a strong irony this year the budget for space exploration has been cut.)

How the future should not be. ‘1984’ written by George Orwell published in 1949.   A 35 year leap into the future where Orwell gets straight to the point from the first page and effectively renders a memorable and chilling vision of the future.

A future unchanged. ‘The World Set Free’ a novel written and published by H. G. Wells in 1914 very closely depicting a post World War II era.  Finished and published before the outbreak of widespread war in 1914 Wells’ was very acute in understanding how human progress would be limited by the politics, money and the quest for power.  A good read.

2011:   Creating new words and Adding new terminology to the dictionary: Looking For The Genius

def1: Ultraconscious  (noun)

No matter how much you search there will come a time when no one word can express what you want to say.  So make one up! There’s only one rule: define it and make it stick.  I came across this problem in Looking For The Genius as Dr. Buchannan closed in on what was going on in Elizabeth’s mind and I wanted to ‘one word it’ but no one word could describe it.

Ahem!  First a word of acknowledgment to my frequently commenting logophiles.  I say terminology because ‘ultraconscious‘ is a combination to two preexisting terms, unlike for example the word ‘nocebo’.


Pronunciation: əl-trə-kän(t)-shəs

Function: noun

Date: circa 2009 introduced by author Patricc Fortiori

: the highest and supreme form of mental existence that controls the conscious and unconscious psyche.



2011:   Prose and Tempo: The 44th Amendment

“Thinking about the possibilities of what she could learn her heart raced.  Her husband never knew.  She sped home from work every day.  She ran lights and stop signs.  A rush came over her.  A near panic excited the woman.  Her eyes darted across web pages that changed faster and faster.  Her fingers beat and shot across the keys.  The keyboard screamed with short burst like a machine gun.  It all moved so fast.  She drank a full cup faster than she could take in air.”  This young woman is experiencing the ecstasy, power and addiction of the information grab offered by the Data Wars.  I gave this section opposing tempos.  Yes, novels like music have tempos!  The excitement of the beginning is in presto with shorter sentences and single syllable words, but when the information later betrays her, largo.  After this betrayal, or turn, sentences become longer and stay on single focus.  This is prose and tempo.  Readers enjoy tempo in short sections.  Done correctly it can isolate a sub-story easily opening the section and neatly closing it.

-Please send me your favorite short verse that has a tempo.


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