What I write—And Why.
My writing has been repeatedly described as intense but engaging, as well as heart-breaking and—by at least one reviewer—absolutely fantastic.
I seem to thrive when working with ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances. Think fiction at its most intense, life at its highest volume.
I write with a style that is both immediate and intense, bringing the reader into the moment or onto the battlefield, if you like. In The Crucible, I took readers into a 1951 operating room to watch as a surgeon worked to save the life of a little boy. In Not One Among Them Whole, my second novel, my canvas was a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. In The Burden, a supernatural medical thriller & my first novel (soon to be available as an eBook so watch for it!), we watched a surgeon come apart after the death of his young daughter. Later, he discovers a door to her afterlife—a door never meant to be opened. In my novella Blade Man, an itinerant scalpel salesman meets his worst nightmare on a lonely, snow bound, North Dakota highway. In Juicing Out, another of my favorite novellas, a surgeon’s already difficult night gets worse—much worse—when he gets home. Hint: have you ever tried to change the battery in your smoke detector?
I know of no other way to write than with intensity, like a fire fighter telling of his time inside a burning building while the soot and snot are still running heavy from his nose. We all know it’d be hot inside that building, but what about the sparks burning through your clothes and biting at your skin, the close sweat stinging your eyes until blindness threatens, the raspy sound of your ventilator with every suck of breath you take. How about the feel—cool? refreshing?—of the oxygen blowing into your face mask? And what does the fire sound like? Can you hear anything else? Your own pulse maybe?
I believe anybody with an interest in medicine and surgery, or who likes shows such as Law & Order or CSI will like my stories. If you’ve ever wanted to ‘open the door’ to see what goes on in the operating room, pick up Not One Among Them Whole.
If you are the kind of person who might like being a voyeur in the emergency room, even for just a short time, you’ll find much of what’s here interesting, even compelling.
Yet, despite all of the intensity alluded to above, there is a certain grace to my words. The writing is, simply put, beautiful.
Some of my favorite authors include Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian is nothing short of brilliant), Stephen King (especially his earlier books — he is always a great storyteller, but for my money his best pure story is Delores Claiborne, followed closely by Salem’s Lot & Pet Sematary; Full Dark, No Stars is his best recent story collection and it rocks), Nevil Shute (read A Town Called Alice, nothing beats it for sheer storytelling, but just about every novel he ever wrote is worth picking up; there are 26 I believe, most centered around events which occurred during WWII; if you are one of those into apocalyptic fiction, as I am, On The Beach is a must read), Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain is pure artistry), and, of course, Michael Shaara & The Killer Angels (as good as the legend says it is).
Bruce Catton’s Centennial History of the Civil War (The Coming Fury, Terrible Swift Sword, and Never Call Retreat) is second only to Shelby Foote’s three volume epic history The Civil War: A Narrative. I highly recommend Shelby Foote.
There are five works I would recommend for those interested in the suffering war brings, and all are tough reads but worth every effort:
The first is Stalingrad, by Theodore Plievier. This is a brutally terrifying novel of life amid war. There is no greater depiction of the suffering wrought by war so far as I am aware. Written in 1948. It is not available as an eBook. If you can find it, buy it. Note: there are a number of books named Stalingrad or some version thereof. Look for the author.
The second is Andersonville, by MacKinlay Kantor. Probably the best Civil War novel ever written, though not widely read today. A long book at over 750 pages. If you stick with it, you will not be disappointed. In fact, you may well consider it the best book you have ever read. Nuff said.
The third is also called Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942-1943, by Antony Beevor. This is not a novel but a history of the Battle of Stalingrad and stands alone as perhaps the finest account of that terrible siege ever written. An acclaimed book. Highly recommended if nonfiction is what you are looking for.
City of Thieves, by David Benioff is a recent novel of life in Leningrad during the WWII. Very good and a much easier read. Highly recommended.
Finally, I would recommend Ulysses S. Grant’s Presidential Memoir. Widely considered the best of all presidential memoirs, highly readable despite being two volumes. This is his account of the Civil War. He finished it only days before his death.
Anyway, thanks for reading my blog, thanks for supporting me. And thanks for reading my fiction.