Tuesday, October 9, 2018

'The Devil's Pipeline' on track for fall publication

   POINT RICHMOND, Calif. -  How many times have I written this headline before?
     Don't go back and look. It would be too embarrassing. This novel has been a see-saw battle both internally for the author and externally.
     But this time I can say with certainty publication is imminent. The book only needs a few pieces to fall into place before - Voila! - The Devil's Pipeline should become available in e-book and print.
There's a Devil in there somewhere
   Some of those pieces rest on my shoulders - the writing of acknowledgements, a preface and dedications, along with a number of other similar details.
     Getting the book into actual production is being handled ably by Adm. Sylvia Fox, whose patience is far greater than mine.
     One big piece remaining is the cover design. It was to be done by the same artist who did Fracking Justice.
     But her schedule became overloaded just as I needed the cover to complete the project.
   But in a week or so I hope to meet with a Northern California artist of considerable fame to see if she is willing to take it on.
     Thanks for your patience. There's a Pipeline headed your way.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

'The Devil's Pipeline' edging towards completion

   POINT RICHMOND - Pipelines take time to build. So do novels involving pipelines, energy companies, thuggish crime, environmental disasters and the haunting history of the Kent State massacre.
     But today, Draft Vers. 2.0 of The Devil's Pipeline is in the capable custody of one more beta reader in California - accomplished novelist, poet and non-fiction book author, Elizabeth Claman of Atchison Village, who lives just a few miles from where this is being written.
   This draft 2.0 version has already had a thorough sifting and suggestions for changes by my good friend and editor extraordinaire Wrexie Bardaglio.
     Wrexie caught several plot flaws, an embarrassing number of typos and schooled me on some Native American references and facts, all of which makes 2.0 much stronger.
     At some point in the next few weeks - depending on the verdict from Elizabeth (and needed editing is completed) - a Vers. 3.0 will go to the Los Angeles publishing house that asked for a second look at the draft.
     And when that happens, the in-process draft of The Wolverine Rebellion will move back onto the front writing burner, just in time for spring, when wolverines tend to get really active.

Friday, January 12, 2018

'Fracking War' presentations - and video - in Nov.

   SACRAMENTO - November was a busy month with presentations in Sacramento and San Francisco. December was busy, too - for different reasons, which is why it's already 2018 before this report made it out.
   In Sacramento, I gave a talk at the Friends of the Library at California State University, Sacramento, the university where I spent several decades teaching journalism.
   In San Francisco, it was a lively panel discussion with three other writers at the Howard Zinn Book Faire.
   The Sacramento event was a real homecoming for me.
   The library gallery speaking venue was full. The audience included students, former colleagues and even retired CSUS President Donald R. Gerth and his wife Beverly.
   My introduction was given by longtime amigo, retired Journalism Professor Bill Dorman. Bill helped engineer my appearance and shepherded me through the day - a luncheon, the talk and a cocktail/reception at the home of retired Government Professor Jean Torcom.
   In the talk I took a different tack than previous presentations. I stayed away from reciting the horrors of hydrofracking and focused on the novel-writing process. The feedback at the talk and the reception after let me know it was the right move for the university audience.
   A video of the talk is at the bottom of this column.
   Included were references to The Devil's Pipeline (set to go to an LA publisher this week for a second look) and The Wolverine Rebellion, the characters of which are getting extremely restless for my attention to get that plot moving again.
(L-R: Liz Carlisle, Steve Masover, Michael Fitzgerald)
   The San Francisco event was a panel discussion titled "Narrating the Anthropocene: Storytelling to Rouse Communities Grappling with Planetary Crisis," organized and chaired by San Francisco novelist Steve Masover, author of Consequence.
   The other panel members were Liz Carlisle, author of The Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America and Jean Tepperman, author of Warning from My Future Self.
   It was a lively panel discussion, with all of us talking about using fiction to effect social change.
   The panel was less than an hour - the panel-presentation equivalent of speed dating.
   But it was a lot of fun.

Friday, October 6, 2017

'The Wolverine Rebellion' draft crawls ahead

   POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - The draft of The Wolverine Rebellion is moving ahead slowly, kind of like a camo-clad guerrilla working his (or her!) way forward across a field to sneak up on an enemy.
     In this case, the draft is moving from concept to characterization and notion to narrative.
     As in the case of The Fracking War, Fracking Justice, and The Devil's Pipeline (Pipeline is currently at a publisher's office in Los Angeles awaiting word), The Wolverine Rebellion has many familiar characters from those books, plus new ones.
     And just as in those earlier novels, the characters are asserting themselves as their story - and it really is their story - moves along.
     The one piece of the draft that firmed up today (along with the already completed half-dozen chapters of Assembly) are the five section titles. All are subject to change, of course, depending on how the characters handle things.

The Tynn Man
Sins of the father
The Empire Strikes Back
Tsunami Warning

Friday, July 21, 2017

The next novel begins - 'The Wolverine Rebellion'

   VALOIS, New York - At what point does simple resistance - a very popular word right now in the Trump era - move to rebellion?
     That's one of many notions rattling around as the draft of a new novel (working title, The Wolverine Rebellion) takes shape.
     Readers of The Fracking War and Fracking Justice are familiar with who the Wolverines were in those novels.
     In The Wolverine Rebellion it appears they have risen again.
     Or have they?
     It's going to be some time before even I can answer that question.
     Watch here for updates...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

'The Devil's Pipeline' draft is in the editor's hands

POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - The first complete draft of the novel The Devil's Pipeline is in the capable hands of Admiral Fox, first reader and frontline editor extraordinaire.

     The draft was completed in a flurry of writing Saturday, May 20. I was sick with an allergy/flu attack for nearly a week before that. But in a fevered state, the final chapters & twists became sooooo obvious, I couldn't believe I hadn't seen them before. Damn characters didn't want to reveal the secret until the very end.

     The draft of the novel came in a few thousand words heavier than planned. The goal was about 70,000 but ended up close to 73,000. Describing a catastrophic fire, a wild parking lot melee, sheriff's deputies firing weapons into a crowd, an Iowa courtroom in chaos - well, the final chapters took a few more phrases and verbs (Verbs!) than expected.

     The chapter/section headings in the final draft are changed slightly from earlier drafts and published information here. And, of course, they might change again before The Devil's Pipeline actually flows into print and e-reader form.

     But for now the section headers are:

Welcome to Mars
Drums along the Ogallala
Wrongful deaths
The fire this time

Thursday, May 4, 2017

'Pipeline' draft thought lost - has been recovered

   POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - One of the most sickening moments any author can have - and I speak from recent experience - is losing a manuscript, or even a part of a work-in-progress.
     The annals of authorship are full of horror stories of such accidental - or purposeful - losses.
     One of my favorites is a particularly horrific tale, about an author's work of horror - Robert Louis Stevenson and his famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

     It seems the first draft of the 30,000-word story was tossed  in the fire (on purpose) by Stevenson's wife who deemed it less-than memorable and not worthy of publication. Ironically, a redraft, written feverishly by a very-ill Stevenson, went on to become one of his most famous works.
     And so it was early May 4 that the last 10,000 words of The Devil's Pipeline draft went missing. Not because Admiral Fox had taken a dislike to the draft - she hasn't seen anything except the first few chapters. It was thought lost due to a Microsoft Word glitch combined with author sloppiness in saving two-days work.
     Luckily, the latches on the windows of our four-story condo were firmly stuck this morning when the words went walkabout for an hour or so.

     After searching backup copies, the most recent draft surfaced. It seems in this author's haste to finish, the most recent backup copy was mislabelled and misfiled. It has since been backed up in two offline spots, with an entirely new naming system to avoid any more high-blood pressure episodes.
     Now the explosions, arrests, and courtroom dramas in the formerly missing 10,000 words back in play, all leading up to one last gasping surge of writing this week and into next.