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The famous Schloss Heidelberg
The Genesis of Nick Temple File no. 6, The Heidelberg Gap The process of starting to write another book is never the same. Last night and this morning I was mentally paging through the typical spy novel plots and titles just for the hell of it. None of the results were particularly surprising. Plots included...
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A statue of a Red Army soldier stands guard over the mass grave of 5,000 of his fellow soldiers in Berlin
What’s the Sweet Spot for the Number of Deaths in a Spy Action Thriller? Death. It’s the great mystery, right? Lots of ideas out there about what happens, what it’s like, whether it’s permanent, whether it’s just another phase, etc. Those are all broad metaphysical questions that humans have been pondering since just about forever,...
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The cover of The Shadow Chamber, Nick Temple File number 5
The Shadow Chamber is Available on Amazon! The Shadow Chamber, as of about noon today, is available on Amazon as an ebook. This never gets old, at least not for me. As an independent author, I have complete control over the release process. I don’t have to wait on anyone else’s timetable. I don’t have...
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The Timeless Beauty of the Kona Waterfront
Once a First Draft is Done Finishing a first draft of a novel is immensely satisfying. Getting all of those thoughts connected in a meaningful way and then getting them down on paper, or more likely in some sort of electronic document format, is like coming out into the light at the end of a...
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The author pitching at the age of twelve
A Tale of Two Triples (Author’s note: This is an article I wrote for a fantasy baseball blog back in 2012. I’m posting it as the Major League Baseball season opens in truncated fashion due to covid-19.) During a night game on April 20th, the Oakland A’s Jemile Weeks hit a triple against the Cleveland...
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A picture of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate from 1985
Writing Backwards The first chapter I wrote in The Shadow Chamber was one of the last chapters in the book. And I recently wrote what will be the last chapter in the book with only about half of the 1st draft finished. Since then I have found that much of what I’m doing is writing...
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Character and Dialog
Description, Dialog and Development Creating a believable character is harder than it sounds. Unlike a play, a novel doesn’t have a list of the characters the reader will eventually encounter. The novelist introduces them throughout the story using a variety of methods to flesh out just who they are. At least that’s an approach I...
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Character Evolution
A Different Theory of Evolution One of the things that has surprised me most about writing is how characters can change as a story unfolds. In spite of having a rough idea of what role a character is going to play and what are the primary attributes of that character, I’ve had characters change in...
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Sources of Inspiration
Sources of Inspiration It may go without saying that, experimental forms of writing notwithstanding, a good story is at the heart of good fiction. And I assumed for many years that knowing what the story will be is a prerequisite to putting pen to paper. I saw no chicken or egg quandary; story first, writing...
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Researching a Cold War Thriller
Research for a Cold War Espionage Thriller I get asked from time to time about doing research for the Nick Temple Files. The books are set in the 1950s and 1960s, so research is necessary to lend an air of verisimilitude to a work that is otherwise fiction. I often combine personal experience as a...
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