Monday, October 30, 2023

Scary Things

 By Thomas Kies

Halloween is tomorrow so you know I’ve got to talk about scary things.  Things that go bump in the night.  Sounds in the attic, doors that open and close by themselves, children laughing in the darkness…where there are no children.

Things that make the hair on the back of your neck bristle and wake you up in the middle of the night. 

I cut our cable service years ago.  We still get our internet through that same company because they have a monopoly in our market and that’s REALLY scary.  Those bloodsucking ghouls raise the price every six months or so.  Why?  Because they can. 

So, we have a Roku stick and we stream everything.  Since the beginning of October, all the streaming services have been serving up a panoply of horror movies.  Some are classics, like Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby, the Shining, Carrie, Halloween, and Nosferatu

I’ve been watching some newer horror that includes a limited series on Netflix called the Fall of the House of Usher. It’s an interesting blend of Succession and King Lear with a mashup of many of the works of Edgar Allan Poe.  

Why do we love scary movies, television shows, and books so much?  When faced with danger, we experience the “fight or flight” response, an autonomic physiological reaction to being exposed to something that is perceived as being stressful or frightening.  It’s a dose of adrenaline. It’s a rush.  It’s exciting if you know the danger isn’t real.  

There’s a safety net. If it becomes too much for you, you know that you can leave the theater, turn off the television or change the channel, or you can close the book.  

Part of the allure of scary films and literature is human curiosity.  We want to know what lurks in that cave, the basement, the attic, or the abandoned insane asylum. We want to follow a character as he or she goes somewhere that you’re secretly shouting in your head, “Don’t go down there, you fool!.  Damn, you’re too stupid to live.”

But we can go down there, because we know it’s not real.  Or is it?

Since this is a writing blog, let me give you some of my favorite scary books:

Of course, there’s nobody who writes horror the way Stephen King does.  And it’s difficult to just name a couple of his novels but my favorites are It, the Stand, and Salem’s Lot.  That last book?  After reading it, I couldn’t go into our basement for months.  Shudder.

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, a modern classic.  It was a brilliant slant on the overwritten vampire trope. 

Speaking of which, the original and still the best—Dracula by Bram Stoker.  Sheer Gothic terror that’s been written, rewritten, and retold innumerable times.  But the best is still the original. 

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.  Sure, you’ve seen the movie, and yes, it’s one of the most frightening films of all time.  But scarier still?  Read the novel. 

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  Two young boys meet the malevolent Mr. Dark at a carnival.  This was more significant for me because one of my jobs when I was in college was working as a carnie.  Scary, weird, and ironically comical.  Someday I may incorporate all of that into my own book. 

By the way, another excellent book set in a carnival is Stephen King’s Joyland.  The blurb on the cover reads, “Who dares enter the Funhouse of Fear?”

Who indeed? Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 27, 2023

Just Because We Can...

NASA recently announced that a capsule from the Osiris-Rex spacecraft had landed in Utah. The capsule contained debris collected from the asteroid Bennu. For us science-fiction nerds, the scenario is all too reminiscent of the plot from Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. Our government assures us that precautions against contamination are in place. Which begs the question, precautions against what? If we don’t know what we protecting ourselves against, how would we know our protections are effective? Certainly, there is much to be gained from an analysis of the asteroid’s material, but is it worth the risk? Why not study this extraterrestrial material in space? 

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

It’s a saying that’s become more significant with our ever increasing technical and industrial capabilities. Several examples come to mind: The creation of the atomic bomb. Gain-of-function research. News articles that raise the hairs on the back of your neck, i.e., stories involving reanimating dead flesh. Gee, what could go wrong? It’s as if the scientists involved have ignored the warnings of every zombie movie ever filmed. Then comes a story about the Chinese growing human tissue inside pig uteruses. Hello, Island of Dr. Moreau calling.

When Kaye Booth asked me to contribute a story to the WordCrafter Press horror anthology, Midnight Roost I had the perfect concept to explore: “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should,” as in human inception and gestation in artificial wombs, to incubate what are known as “bag babies.” The so-called benefits of this development include “freeing women from the tyranny of pregnancy,” allowing parents to customize the genes of their baby, and giving the government the opportunity to control demographics to enact state policies. With bag babies, the government can control population growth without the pesky need for humans getting it on. Two examples warning us about the dangers of industrial-scale human incubation came to mind: Brave New World, and The Matrix.

I wrote "Immediate Intervention" to discuss several themes addressing bag babies. The first is that human development is very complicated and nuanced. We know about the importance of an emotional connection between a mother and the infant while in the womb. When the baby is born, its prefrontal cortex is undeveloped and the brain is a blank slate. As the baby matures, what becomes evident is the empathetic connection between the infant and mother, then infant and father, then infant and others. This connection depends on environmental influences upon the baby in the womb, things like the mother’s heartbeat, her warmth, her emotional state, the projection of good vibes from mother to child. Some of this may sound esoteric but we know that babies born in emotionally toxic environments will become emotionally toxic people. 

How then to replicate a nurturing environment for the baby in an artificial womb? Certainly, a fetus incubator could replicate heart beats and use soothing stimuli to mimic a human host mother. But would that be enough? Wouldn’t such a loss of the child-mother bond bring the risk of babies not developing a sense of empathy? What would be the fallout of that?

In my story, this lack of empathy results in an inability to establish meaningful emotional connections, which in turn would lead to isolation, a sense of chronic loneliness, then depression. And from that, a proclivity to suicide.

The other theme would be one of, who am I? What am I? Who are my real parents? The DNA donors? Or the mother—the incubator? Would there be a sense of spiritual estrangement, that rather than feel part of the human continuum stretching back through prehistory, you see yourself as a fleshy widget, a product of commerce, another cog in the government’s machinery? 

This leads to the question, who do you belong to? Presently, as a child, you belong to your parents until the age of emancipation. What happens if the state has sole responsibility over you and you’re seen as a replaceable component of the system? If the state had the authority to birth you, could they not have the sole authority to terminate you?

With this, the elements for a good horror story fell into place. That the mother who bore you is the same monster who will devour you.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Connecting with fellow book lovers

 In my blog post two weeks ago, I wrote about the dark place I was in because of the war and the seemingly endless suffering. The bombings in Ukraine were not longer in the news because the public and the media had been captivated by a new horror. 

If anything, the horror is worse now than two weeks ago. Anger and violence is spreading, both in the Middle East and across the globe, where everyone is taking sides whether they understand what's going on or not. One of the advantages of growing old is the wisdom of the long view, and the understanding that the more you know about a subject, the less you know it. In order to restore some measure of balance and hope, I limited my consumption of news to twice a day and only from a couple of trusted professional news sources. I tried to avoid social media, which is a toxic soup, and skip over angry diatribes.

Mostly, it's helping. What's also helping is reconnecting with my normal life. In the past two weeks I've done two in-person talks to community groups about my writing, and both were energizing and restorative. I've done a lot of talks over the years. When I started, I prepared my talk carefully, typed it out, bolded key points to help me remember and stay on track, and faced my audience like the consummate professional. Over time, I learned to talk from a point-form outline, and still later, I had the point-form outline on the side table but only glanced at it occasionally. For the past few talks, I have spoken for over an hour without a single note.

The transformation from formal presentation to informal chat started with my book club talks. These are more informal by nature – small, intimate groups of friends sitting in a circle of comfy chairs, chatting and sharing easily. I too had a comfy chair and sometimes a glass of wine at my elbow. Formality is not a good fit. Often the sessions resembled spontaneous Q&As, with my answers dreamed up on the spot in response to the question, I learned the art of ad-libbing and thinking on my feet. Not quite conversation but certainly not didactic.

In some book clubs, I ended up talking for a half hour about whatever topic or book they wanted, without the aid of a single prepared note. No two talks are ever the same, but over time, I have developed a repertoire of thoughts and observations about my books, my writing process, my approach to research, and so on, and I can pull them up whenever that topic is raised. Sometimes I forget one interesting point but another one occurs to me. Because I know my work and these topics well, I find it easier to relax and be spontaneous, joke, and connect with the audience. I think everyone enjoys the informality. I know I do! 

It also help enormously that the people who come to these talks usually love books and are eager to learn about mine. No scowls or heckling here. That affirmation is wonderful for the soul. How would we writers survive without readers?

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Love Locks in the News – Again


by Sybil Johnson

Back in 2019, I wrote a post on Type M on “Love Locks and Locksporting”. You can read it here. At the time, I was doing research for book 6 in the Aurora Anderson mystery series, “Brush Up On Murder”. I included both of those things in a story that’s set around Valentine’s Day. Well, finally after way too long, “Brush Up On Murder” is out in the world! So far it’s receiving good reviews. One of these days I’ll write some posts about my journey into being a hybrid author, but not today.

Love locks are in the news again. This time at the Grand Canyon. This is one place that I never thought I’d hear about people putting love locks. On a bridge in Paris, yes, I can see that. Next to the Grand Canyon, well, no.

Many articles have been written about this. Here’s one of them: Basically, the Grand Canyon is not a good place for a love lock. And throwing the key into the canyon, as many people are doing, is really, really not a good idea. Birds, like the California condor (an endangered species), are curious about shiny objects. They will pick up a key or a coin and it’ll get stuck inside them. Then they need surgery to get the key removed. Not a good thing.

In my book, there’s a bit of controversy regarding putting love locks on a pier railing and throwing keys into the ocean. But, anytime I show someone putting up a love lock anywhere, they always throw the key in a trashcan.

The first time I saw love locks in person was in San Antonio, Texas, where there was a spot near the River Walk. We watched a couple attach one, even took a picture for them. But, from what I remember, they threw the key into a trashcan and not into the neighboring canal.

If you want to see if there’s a love lock location near you, you can consult a map by going to Not sure how up to date it is. 

Google also has a map created by a user: 

But don’t throw the key into a body of water or the Grand Canyon!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A Time for Weeping

 by Charlotte Hinger

The Hamas/Israel War has displaced all of my thoughts about this week's post. What a tragic event. There are so many possible repercussions that I can't bear to ponder any of them. 

Right now, my heart goes out to the victims of this war. 

Donis's post last week was superb. Titled "Where is  Cincinnatus?" she revives an old quote “Comes the hour, comes the man.” She lamented the state of our broken nation and added:

"The saying keeps running through my head and makes me wonder – where’s the (wo)man who can turn this mess around? Where’s our Cincinnatus, who was granted supreme power by the Roman Senate when the Republic was on the brink of disaster, then gave it up the instant the crisis was averted and retired to his plow."

Who indeed? I admire our president and was so happy to hear his unwavering support for Israel. Yet, I kept in mind the hatred toward Abraham Lincoln when he was thrust into a war that he desperately wanted to avoid. Not everyone is going to agree with our President's policy.

I think one of the hardest realizations for me when I became a historian was that there is no way to avoid war when another county is determined to do you in. Absolutely no way! 

I know the history of the Palestine/Israel conflict is complex and I really don't know a thing. Nevertheless, I cannot understand Arafat rejected a two-state solution in 2000.

Why are the citizens of so many nations paralyzed by leaders who court disaster?


Monday, October 16, 2023

Retirement---More Time for Writing and Marketing

 By Thomas Kies

It's a little hard to tell from that photo, but that was a toast made in my honor at my retirement party. I’m retiring from my day job as president of our county’s chamber of commerce this week. Friday is officially my last day.  About a week ago, my board hosted a very nice, well attended happy hour in celebration of this event, so this week is a bit of an anti-climax.

That being said, this past week was extremely busy, and this coming week will be even more so.  My replacement has already started so she’s in my old office and I’m taking up space in the conference room, where, I swear, it’s cold enough to hang meat. 

In addition to helping acclimate the new president into her new role, I’ve volunteered to be the moderator at our League of Women Voters Candidate Forums---all five of them.  This year the interest in the municipal elections has been remarkable.  Each election has between seven and twelve candidates running for three seats each.

So I’ve been putting together questions for each forum pertinent to the municipality and trying to time the forums so they go the full two hours and not a minute longer.  The reason?  I’m standing the entire time behind a podium and my legs and feet are screaming at me by 8pm.  I really wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed for volunteering for twelve hour days during the last two weeks of my career. 

What that’s done is slowed down my work on my next Geneva Chase novel.  I have a manuscript submitted to my editor that isn’t a Geneva Chase mystery and I wasn’t sure if working on another book in the series was a good idea.

But I met with my agent while I was in San Diego for Bouchercon and she advised me to go ahead to write another Geneva Chase adventure.  I’m at the 230-page mark and this is where I tie up some loose ends but also lay some new clues.  All of it in the middle of a hurricane.  In the book, not here on my island...not right at this moment. 

It’s difficult to keep the writing momentum up while tying up my own loose ends.  

After Friday, October 20, I hope to have much more time to write and promote the books I’ve already had published.  I saw a post online the other day asking, “When did writers have to become social media influencers?” 

That’s a good question but that’s where most of the marketing takes place, isn’t it?  How many of your local newspapers carry book reviews?  Another question, in this day and age, how many of you have daily newspapers in your area?  There are fewer and fewer of them.

Trying to promote your books on any “old media” is problematic at best. 

It’s the internet that needs to be used and that takes time.  One more reason to look forward to retirement, in addition to being able to read more often, take walks on the beach, travel to locations on Cindy’s and my bucket list, and visit my family.  

Oh yes and write.  I love to write.  

Just got to get through the rest of this week.

Friday, October 13, 2023

The Copyediting Process

 I was going through some documents I had saved on a thumb drive, searching for a midterm study guide for one of my classes that I thought I might have accidentally copied to the wrong drive. 

As I was scrolling, I came across my responses to the copyeditor's queries about The Red Queen Dies, the first book featuring my Albany, New York homicide detective, Hannah McCabe. 

Since The Wizard of Oz is also mentioned in this book, it occurred to me that you might enjoy a peep behind the (editing) curtain.  

Comments about my revisions and in response to queries from copyeditor

1. I took this last opportunity to do more to establish that this is an “alternate universe” or “parallel world.” I explain the reasons in my Author’s Note. The “real world” happens too fast. A near-future book needs to exist in its own reality. 

[Note: The "the present" has caught up with me and zoomed past. It is still 2019 in my third (plotted but not written ) book and in my 1939 historical where McCabe and Baxter are (probably) going to be appearing in a parallel subplot].

Aside from the UFO that appeared in 2012 

[Note: I mentioned the UFO in a news broadcast at the beginning of the book. The news reader reports the seventh anniversary of an event that had sent NORAD scrambling. The UFO disappeared and has never returned. I give myself a pat on the back for being ahead of the recent (real world) discussion about UFO sightings]:

a. “New France” (this is the name a historian friend of mine suggested if Quebec should break away from the rest of Canada) mentioned during the morning news.

b. The “curse” on the Yankees (which any baseball fan would recognize as being in an alternate universe in which the Yankees, who are a winning team in this world, are now dealing with a version of the curse that plagued the Red Sox)

c. “if Truman had really beat Dewey” [new addition]

(see page 121) – a passing mention by Angus of a book he is planning to read. Of course, a reference to the famous “Dewey beats Truman” newspaper headline. And sets up the political history in the book as not quite the same as this world. Later, in the book (during the discussion about getting access to library records, Baxter now makes a sarcastic comment about how this is what Howard Miller is always talking about (Democrats have now been in control of the White House for 11 years and have stacked the Supreme Court. Civil liberties have been protected – and Howard Miller is the conservative backlash to that. Just a passing comment by Baxter to which McCabe makes a sarcastic response but sets the stage for another mention of neo-Nazis later. I also wanted to use Baxter’s comment to imply that he’s “testing” McCabe to see how she’ll respond.

d. And, as you may have noticed, in a scene driving into work, McCabe is listening to Elvis’s farewell concert in Central Park – a major event in 2000. Presumably, Elvis is now a senior citizen and alive and well.

The technology:

1. Web based on language used by biologists to describe spider web (e.g., node, threader)

2. The technology doesn’t always work – police budget and solar flares – I have a bit more discussion about that now as they are looking at Vivian Jessup’s body on camera. Just another reference to where the money is being spent – downtown, around the convention center, protecting tourists

3. While they are waiting for a table at the barge, Baxter mentions UAlbany and nanotech. Another reason it’s hard to get a table downtown (but also important in describing the city as nanotechnology moves off campus, and sets up offices downtown)

Other changes:

1. Here and there have replaced “old” with “elderly” when referring to women

2. On pages 34-36, tightened up Wizard of Oz discussion and changed location where second victim dies (killed when has flat tire). The change in location is because the perp that McCabe and Baxter arrest has broken into the first victim’s house. This would have to be Bethany’s house (empty since her death).

3. Page 31 – at the Jessup crime scene, the dead animal was a squirrel in early versions. It is now a dead snake. I thought this was a bit grosser as a mental image. Although not said, the implication is that Baxter mistakes the snake for a piece of the victim’s intestines.

4. Page 15 – I corrected a blooper – the bola McCabe fires from her weapon should go around the victim’s legs rather than his feet and use cords rather than a net.

5. pp. 125-126 – The conversation between McCabe and Chelsea changes a bit here. Chelsea is trying to fix McCabe up with a blind date – later will become clear that McCabe has not even told her best friend about her secret lover and will also reinforce McCabe’s exchange with the two detectives in Jessup’s apartment about dying and having someone come and paw through your things. As a character she values privacy.

In this same scene with Chelsea, the set-up for a topic I’d like to explore a little in the next book (designer babies and cloning – Baxter brings up cloning when he mentions his friend who is dying)

6. p. 357 – a bit of editing here with Baxter’s call to his contact about a meeting  

7. As I was looking for typos in the final scenes, I did some general tightening and cleaning up clunky dialogue.

Note the specific use now of a “pharmacologist” (rather than “doctor”) . . . . 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The plot audition

Sometimes, I ask my plots to audition. I ask them to try out for their roles as novels that will dominate my life for a year or more by writing them as short stories first. Occasionally, they succeed as both. Bitter Crossing, the first Peyton Cote novel, was “Autumn’s Crossing” in the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Usually, if the plot is best served as a 40-chapter meal, it becomes apparent: the storyline is simply too large –– or would take way too much energy to pare –– to be a short story.

I just went through this process and ended up with 10,000 words in the form of an over-developed short story (41 pages are sitting on my desk) but something that isn’t close to a novella. Poor thing currently lives in purgatory. The story reads like an outline to a novel. It began life with a kernel of truth, then an idea for an opening scene, but no clear ending. It was perfect for a plot audition.

As I worked through it, I wrote 18 chapters, some that could be expanded. Better yet, I have some chapters that can be expanded upon –– meaning I saw ways to make the story more layered and places where additional suspects and complications for my protagonists could be inserted. The conclusion showed its face, as it always does, but the story also hinted that there might be alternative endings that will emerge organically.

One thing I know is that it’s not a short story; it’s a novel.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Hope and justice for the real world

 It's been a tumultuous week in the world. This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, but many of us have been struggling with the appalling news out of the Middle East. On top of the wars in Sudan, Armenia, and the earthquake in Afghanistan. Before that the flood in Libya and the earthquake in Morocco. Thousands of people have been killed and millions more injured, homeless, and suffering.

It's difficult to feel like celebrating and being thankful when so much of the world lives in pain and fear.  Difficult too to put my mind toward editing my latest novel. As I sit in my cosy house in my safe, peaceful neighbourhood, with my full fridge and my warm bed, typing away on my modern MacBook and checking my facts on my fast, reliable wifi, it feels so trivial and so privileged. I acknowledge that I have much to be grateful for, but I do so with a twinge of guilt. 

The weekend's horrors put me in a very dark place, and as my novel contains a lot of darkness (it's a mystery, after all), I have channelled my mood into the feelings of the characters and the atmosphere of the story. But I will have to reread it all once I have regained my sense of balance. Whether they are cosies or nail-biting thrillers, mysteries endure because they are about finding justice and righting wrongs. In difficult times, they provide a sense of satisfaction that some semblance of justice has been restored to the world, at least in the book.

My stories are often dark and emotionally hard-hitting, and I want readers to be touched and moved by the struggles I explore. I believe in the power of compassion and empathy. But I don't want them to slit their throats at the end; instead. I want to give readers a sense of hope, even if it's only a faint flicker.  

I don't feel that sense of hope in the world right now. As Donis said, we need some great leaders capable of rising above their self-interest and their love of power long enough to lead us out of this morass. On climate change, on regional wars, and on universal human rights. We may have to start small, but we have to start somewhere.

 Meanwhile, I will continue to try to infuse a little hope, compassion, and justice into the fiction I create. Throwing up my hands is not an option. 

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Where is Cincinnatus?

Since I began writing for public consumption, I’ve been careful to keep my opinions on the state of the world to myself. I figure nobody cares (or should care), anyway. But the latest brouhaha over the disfunction in Congress has reminded me of an old saying: “Comes the hour, comes the man.”

The saying keeps running through my head and makes me wonder – where’s the (wo)man who can turn this mess around? Where’s our Cincinnatus, who was granted supreme power by the Roman Senate when the Republic was on the brink of disaster, then gave it up the instant the crisis was averted and retired to his plow. Where is our George Washington, who helped found a nation and refused a crown? Or our Joseph Welch – the man who brought down Joe McCarthy and his Communist-baiting House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1954 with one immortal comment: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness …. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

Our late House Speaker had enough spine to finally fall on his sword to avert a government shut down, however temporarily. But was this a noble gesture, lauded for averting a fiscal disaster that would fall squarely on his own party? It could have been, but nooo. After vilifying the other side for nine months,  to the point they don't trust a word he says, he blames them for his ouster rather than admitting he got himself into this mess. A talk-show personality this very morning noted that the ex-speaker made a deal with the devils and the devils always demand their due. 

So where is our heroic figure, the person who will finally say, "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency," and have it mean something at last? Alas, I fear heroes are thin on the ground these days.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Aflunters, Biblioklept and Wordify


by Sybil Johnson

From the title, you can guess that I’ve spent a bit of time recently looking at books that list obsolete English words. In this case it was The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffery Kacirk.  Yes this is what I do in my spare time!

Here are some of my favorites that I found. I think we should bring some of these back.

abracadabrant – marvelous or stunning

aflunters – in a state of disorder. This describes my desk these days. 

baffound – to stun and perplex 

biblioklept – one who steals books 

bruzzle – make a great to-do 

cabobble – to mystify, puzzle, confuse flonker – anything very large or outrageous 

gloppened – surprised 

quanked – overpowered by fatigue (felt like this a bit this past week) ruly – obedient. We should bring this one back. Unruly is still used today, why not this one? 

thrunched – very angry, displeased 

trilemma – any choice between three alternatives 

wordify – to put into words. This one sounds like something that is quite modern, at least to my ears. So, I’m not a writer, I’m a wordifier!

Monday, October 02, 2023

Real LIfe and Fiction--The Climate Question

 By Thomas Kies

A while back, I asked the question, will you include the pandemic in your writing?  I’m going to ask you another question, will you ever include climate change in your writing? 

I did that extensively in my fourth book Shadow Hill.  That was the one that was Edgar nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Sue Grafton Memorial Award.  

Yes, I’m bragging just a little bit.

But I did talk a lot about climate change, climate change deniers, fossil fuels, the oil industry and the subsidies they get from the federal government. Of course, I also talk about embezzlement, vandalism, and murder.  It’s a murder mystery after all.

Just last weekend, I was scheduled to do a book event and signing at our local library.  The night before, I got an email from the organizer asking me, “In light of the storm, would you like to postpone?  We can’t cancel the caterer, but we’ll let you make the call.”

What storm?

I’ve worked for newspapers and magazines nearly all my life and the result is-- I’m an unrepentant news junkie.  That includes following the weather, especially here on the coast where we get the occasional hurricane.  Plus, we live on an island, so we’re particularly sensitive to really bad weather. 

I opened my laptop and took a look.  Sure enough, there was a storm that had formed just off the South Carolina coast and was coming our way.  Only minutes before, it had grown into a tropical storm, and it was now named Ophelia. 

Where had that come from? It was a complete surprise.

However, we’ve been through tropical storms here and they’ve never been a really big deal.  Some rain, some wind, pop open a bottle of wine, and let’s have a party. 

So, I said, “Let’s do the book signing as scheduled.”  And we did.  All the while, the wind howled, and the rain came down sideways.  We still had about twenty people show up, which I considered to be a win.  

And that was before the storm actually hit land.

That night, before Ophelia actually made landfall, NOAA was saying it could potentially reach land as a Category 1 hurricane.  And we were sitting right at ground zero. 

Long story short, we lost power that night into the next day, one of our trees came down, and I regretted that I hadn’t prepared better.  

But I’d had no real warning.  None of us did.

A week later, the same thing happened further north when a storm hit New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut and dropped over eight inches of rain in a very short period of time leaving streets and subways severely flooded.  It came suddenly and without much warning. 

The reason for these sudden storms seems to be the unusually warm waters in the Atlantic as well as a great deal of water vapor in the air.  The results of climate change?  I’m going to say yes, and you can argue with me if you so wish.

Increased opportunities for wildfires, more powerful storms and hurricanes, lengthy droughts.  Will this enter your fiction? Will it become subject matter for your novels? I’m currently working on my sixth Geneva Chase novel, and it takes place on a barrier island during a hurricane.  

Yes, I mention climate change and how the warm ocean waters act to supercharge storms.  It’s not the main part of the story, but it’s a fact of our lives now.

Will it ever be part of your fiction? It’s certainly part of our reality.