Skip to content

Posts by Peter Grant

A lesson re-learned from disaster

The recent wildfires in California have devastated an entire city.  Paradise, CA was so completely destroyed that it may never be rebuilt.  Those who lived there have mostly lost everything, because the fire moved so quickly that there was no time to pack important belongings before evacuating.  Even fireproof safes turned out to be not fireproof enough.  One person lost his life savings when the safe holding the money was subjected to such intense heat that its contents “turned to unrecognizable dust“.

Read more

Digital dilemma?

Apple is moving ahead with a new video streaming service for its customers, which looks likely to expand to affect books as well as visual entertainment.  In the excerpt below, bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

Read more

Writing through the fog

In early August, I experienced a medical issue that necessitated a quick trip to the emergency room.  I wasn’t impressed with the doctor on duty, who took a very alarmist view of my symptoms and (rather dramatically) announced that she was going to admit me for treatment of a particularly nasty and life-threatening condition.  I didn’t believe her diagnosis, and didn’t think she was right, so I refused further treatment that day.  I had to sign the obligatory form, of course, acknowledging that I was leaving against her advice and accepted the risks involved.  It contained the rather dramatic warning that I risked death by doing so.  Having previously risked death in a rather large number of ways over many years, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the official histrionics…

Read more

Laptops have been around much longer than you think…

…although they weren’t necessarily electronic.  The Atlantic reports:

Read more

Lessons learned during a research trip

My wife and I returned two days ago from a ten-day research trip through west Texas, southern Colorado, and northern New Mexico.  It was a lot of fun, apart from the altitude in Colorado and New Mexico, which proved difficult to cope with.  That aside, I also learned a lot, yet again.

When I write, I find it helpful to try to see through my eyes what my characters are seeing through theirs.  It’s a technique that pays dividends for me.  I don’t always describe it on the printed page, but it helps me think about how they would react in a given situation, and how their thoughts and words would be shaped by what was around them.  That’s a work of the imagination in something like science fiction or space opera, but far closer to reality in things like fantasy (at least as far as the world around the characters is concerned) and my Western novels.  Traveling the regions about which I’m going to write helps me see things more accurately.

Read more

Genres, author focus, and reader expectations

Today’s article is as much a bleg for information and comment from our readers as it is my own perspective.  I hope we can get a discussion going that will benefit all of us, and possibly those outside our immediate circle as well.

If one writes in a particular genre, one is often “typecast” as “a science fiction author”, or “a fantasy author”, or “a romance author”, or whatever.  This can lead to complications when a writer wants to broaden his/her horizons and publish in other genres.  If one’s readership has been painstakingly built up in a particular genre, will they follow you to another, and buy your books in that one too?  In my experience, if they like your writing because of your style/quirks/weirdness/whatever, they will;  but if they’re genre-based readers who happen to like your work as representative of what they expect in that genre, not so much.  Other writers have reported a wide range of experiences when confronting that reality.  What have you found, both as a writer and as a reader?

Read more

Learning from a pulp master

There are all sorts of writing courses, seminars, presentations and lessons out there.  Most appear to be offered by those who haven’t sold many (if any) books, and don’t rank among popular authors, yet present themselves as authorities in the field.  Others are post-graduate university programs that speak in grandiloquent terms about the art of writing, but seldom appear to lead to career success.  I’ve never understood why some of them appear to have so much credibility among students, but there it is.

However, I was recently reminded of one of the modern giants of pulp fiction, the late Warren Murphy, co-author of the “Destroyer” series of books and others.  They were ubiquitous on military bases when I wore uniform, along with others of their kind, as I noted recently on my own blog.  The “Destroyer” series gave rise to a pulp movie, if I could call it that, in the 1980’s.  It was a hoot.

Read more