In the early 2000s, I took a second job teaching Biology on nights at weekends at the local community college. Teaching Biology means teaching evolution, because nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. It was then I realized just how awful science education is in this country — how we spend 95% of class time on atomic facts, treating science like … Continue reading The Shocking Truth
There’s a joke in financial planning circles that if you ask a number of people about their plans are for retirement, some percentage will say something like “I’m gonna win the lottery.” The joke of course is that you’re far more likely to die in a car accident this year than you are to win the lottery. Ever. Winning the lottery is not a sound … Continue reading On Publicity in Publishing
I’ve been to the UK several times. I saw Bath and Stonehenge. I got drunk in Canterbury and pissed on a wall. I took the Night Scotsman from King’s Cross to Edinburgh where I had a delicious haggis in the brick-lined basement of a very old building. And on one trip I was just down the street from an IRA bomb in — guess where … Continue reading An American in Scotland
I ran across pictures of this while doing research for settings for my novels. Both fascinating and heartbreaking. Oceangoing vessels are not meant to be taken apart. They’re designed to withstand extreme forces in some of the planet’s most difficult environments, and they’re often constructed with toxic materials, such as asbestos and lead. When ships are scrapped in the developed world, the process is more … Continue reading The Shipbreakers
A couple times now I’ve been asked how I handle it, most recently yesterday. This is my answer. I don’t think there’s a thing called Writer’s Block. What we call Writer’s Block is a collection of many different psychological faults and phenomena, some real, some imagined, so don’t fall for it. In my experience, there’s a big problem and a little problem hidden in there. The … Continue reading Writer’s Block
I was talking with my buddy this week, and we decided I should probably write mysteries if anything. Mysteries have to present and solve a puzzle, so they’re very plot-centric, which I tend to be. Not that my characters are crap, but there’s a certain style of writing — which is the more popular one, I’m sure — that sort of lets characters run around … Continue reading Mystery!
Reading Dashiell Hammett is a lot like listening to the Beatles; you’ve heard them before even if you’ve never heard them before. Edgar Allen Poe invented detective fiction, but Hammett invented the detective that audiences since immediately associate with the genre. A former Pinkerton, Hammett abandoned the British gentleman-detective popularized by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, characters who are never really in any danger from … Continue reading Review of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Glass Key”