Friday, October 26, 2007

The Day My City Burned – Firestorm 2007

Here I sit determined to issue my November newsletter with detracting flashes of orange and red fireballs lapping at the windows, blasts of heat from marching flames, bent on a relentless attack of the citizens of San Diego County. Fires surged for miles and miles, starting in the rolling countryside of Ramona, California, a lovely place in the peaceful foothills to retire and grow horses – so we thought.

This is the second time in four years that wildfires mocked our usual casual disregard for earthquakes, the nationally known California malady. It seems that when high pressure centers over Nevada it casts and evil spell over Southern California in the form of high velocity, hot winds from the east. Once we reached 4% humidity or less, the brush explodes. There is some sinister plot to all of this, some shadowy specter that delights in fire, like some crazed arsonist. This time the fires broke out in several places from Malibu, through San Bernardino, down through the back country east of San Diego, all the way to the border of Mexico and beyond. It had orders to march to the coast and burn everything in sight, driven by hurricane level winds.

I sat for hours staring at the TV, watching the evading army’s front lines advance into our lands and reflected on various cultures that have had their Huns and Cossacks burn their way through their villages over the course of history. Certainly the Poles know what it’s like. So have the many in Afghanistan, Iraq, and most of Africa. The fire bombing of Japan in World War II was terrifying for a culture that lived in wood and paper houses. The people of Dixieland when Sherman marched to the coast certainly felt the horror.

You know the event unfolding before you is serious when it can be seen on Google maps drawn from satellite images in outer space. When smoke and ash reach out into the Pacific close enough to Hawaii to hear Ukuleles, it’s big. Sometimes it overpowers you and tears well up, fear catches in your throat, and you ask yourself, when will it end?


The amazing bright spot in all of this was the reaction of the citizens of San Diego. They said to themselves as they awoke to smoke filled eyes and a horizon lined with flames, we are not going to let this become our Katrina; we will not stand by and watch our citizens suffer. The evacuation centers were a model of what can happen when those that made it through unscathed, reach out and help their neighbors in need. The outpouring of food and common needs to comfort was remarkable. Even teachers, musicians, and hospital care givers arrived on the scene as those displaced poured into parking lots of the evacuation centers to be there for the children and older citizens that arrived with a dazed look in their eyes. Dozens of semitrailer trucks with common brand names painted on the side, circled their wagon around their people, all donated from private sources, not the government. Maybe mankind has some hope yet.

Is it a coincidence that each time these fires happen, it occurs in October, on the eve of Halloween? I don’t mean to scare you, but I don’t think so. Remember the big fire started in Witch Creek Canyon. Halloween is evil’s celebration dance for rotten deeds done to the innocent. When I hand out candy to those pint sized, cheerful little demons this season, I won’t forget that the specter is watching from a limb of a tree, leering down saying, “You may have foiled me this time, but October rolls around once a year – beware.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quote of the day...

John Wolf quote - "The thing I like most about being over the hill, is the view from here is so beautiful."I've been trying to get people to go along with my offbeat view of life for a long time. Most don't get it. It's sad in a way that humans are so serious about their significance to the universe. I'm more like my dog; I just enjoy being scratched behind my ears.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Conjecture 6

I will be selling my books at the Conjecture 6 conference in San Diego, Sept 28, 29 & 30th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (the old Hanalai) on hotel circle. Come out and see me and get an autographed book.

The focus of the conference is Alien Cultures - concepts and visualizations of how space alien beings might look and act based on scientific reasoning. The lectures should be rather interesting.

Since I hearld from Roswell, New Mexico, this could be an opportunity to talk shop with the aliens themselves.

See ya there.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

How Do Writer's Become Topic Experts

Getting in tune with the universe you want to write about is critical to being believed, but you really shouldn't become a heroine addict, just to get the lifestyle down pat. Anyone writing about current times, or the past, must do their research to avoid ridicule by readers; but you can be successful, within an acceptable margin of error, by reading what others have written about the subject, life style, or locations. Or you could do what I do and place your story in the future and invent your own history.

It certainly is a challenging endeavor to get close enough to lives portrayed in a story to be believable, if you haven’t been through it yourself. One way to gain insight without actually doing the backbreaking work is to talk to those who have. I suggest you do your family’s genealogy. Interview all the older folks you can, especially those closest to you and your parents. They will be the most forthcoming with a meaningful discussion. When they mention they use to be a typesetter on a local newspaper to earn money after high school, pursue that topic, and ask the detailed questions that give you information that you would have to otherwise get your fingers burnt to find out about. Write down these golden nuggets of information for future reference. Compile a glossary of “How it’s done” terms. This is also a good way to prevent future writer’s block. When you wander through your notes, visions of these people pop to mind and inspire fresh ideas.
You don’t have to believe in reincarnation or better yet, be able to remember all your past lives to gain this uber-knowledge, beyond your actual experience; but you can hedge your bets with good old fashion forensic approach to the subject and become an topic expert.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Big Switch UP

The current news is the Wolf Tracks Music site has been renovated, replaced by JohnWolfBooks.com to be more specific to visitors that come searching for the adventure tales. "Orphan Records" and "A Dark and Stormy Knight" are in second editions now. I really appreciate the terrific support people that have read the books have given me. I have learned from it, and I have responded. This, of course, influenced the writing in the third book, "Harmonics," which is getting nice reviews both on Infinity's site, BBOTW.com and Amazon - thanks guys.

Where do we go from here? I woke up in the middle of night with a new idea for a story that will be a contemporary mystery. I was inspired by a name that came to me after finding out what the words meant in Swahili. I had to write what this guy would be and what he might do – he will be a crafty antagonist for sure. I’d love to tell you about now, but then what would be the point of writing the book?

If you get a chance, checkout the latest Fox & Quill issue on the new site at:

http://johnwolfbooks.com/books/FoxQuill/index.htm

I have been placing some short stories in various issues. The August issue will have a story about the Orbiting Space Station you might enjoy. It even gave me the creeps reading it. September will have a story about issue at the Mexican border – it’s not what you might expect – hee hee.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Beat the Heat

With all the doomsday prophets talking up global warming and another massive, deadly hurricane season approaching, I have to get jittery. Here in Southern California the days are smoothing out to our usual 70 degree days and upper 50s, lower 60s nights. The sea breeze pulls in the delicate fragrance of Eucalyptus oil as the long slender leaved trees push back gently. I don't know about you, but life isn't fun if you listen to the news. I conserve, I don't indulge, so cut me a break. I trust Mother Nature to take care of herself. If that means a major slap-down of the human race - you go girl. It's not like we don't deserve it. At least the wars would stop for awhile as we all figure out how to grow a garden and dig a latrine. I just published my third book, a science fiction story told from the point of view of a bass player in a rock band in the year 2162, so, hey, maybe we will get there. I'm too busy trying to plan a marketing season to worry if Barnes&Noble is going to be hit by terrorists tonight. Before the dog days of this summer get here, check out this new story. It will get you through the hurricanes, the terrorist, and any pirates coming up from the Caribbean. Here’s the path – “wolftracksmusic.com/books” The story is called “Harmonics.” Have a great summer – turn off the news.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rest easy, the Palladium Queen has landed.



It's been along time coming but my new book "Harmonics" is on the street.
Here's the cover:

If you are wondering, you're looking at Jarkard Station on Mars, an outpost for the Planetary Products mining company and tourist destination for cruise ships from Las Vegas, baby.

The story has more than one plotline, but focuses on the lifestyle of a rock band that plays this gig on the run to the Red Planet. The drug of choice for these rockers is DNA shifters that gives you odd skin textures and hair patterns. It's so much cooler than current trends. We're talking 2162, not that far in the future, but music is mostly synthsized for psychological compatibility. This is the story of the only rock band in the universe that still plays vintage equipment and songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80 from a couple of hundred years ago.

What the tourist or the band expects is stowaways that are going to wreck their day, being that are on a mission to go home. Home being Mars. Yes, there was life on Mars, and it's coming back!

Hope you enjoy the new pile of pulp. Let me know how the story hits you. If you want the book now, go to the publisher's site (www.BuyBooksOnTheWeb.com) and key in "Harmonics" or go to my web site and start clicking buttons ("JohnWolfBooks.com"). There's a bunch of excepts and bio blurb there that's new to this issue.

Later,
The Wolf-man

Monday, April 30, 2007

Starting out 2007 with a Brand New Coat

The web site got a major makeover, due mainly to buying a book on style sheets - wow. That's the way to go. Also, I was fortunate enough to lob onto a copy of Adobe's new suite of software to develop web sites - wow again. I spent a lot of time learning the basics of Photoshop. That took a conference and a couple of books as well.

Take a look for yourself - Brand New Coat for the site at:
http://www.wolftracksmusic.com/books

Also, my fellow authors that publish with Infinity Publishing are getting organized. We are link-swapping on each other's sites to establish a broader Internet base and serve the readers. There is great diversity among those listed as Noteworthy Authors.

Also, the Fox & Quill newsletter/eMag/blog-like publication I do from the web site is back. Instead of a massive emailing, I let the readers come to the site and peruse the newsletter. Commenting back is supported. But the main concept is, this is a place where authors can vent, provide valid observation, and participate within a community of fellow authors. Come on in, the water's fine.

This has also been a busy year teaching at a local university. I have been doing classes online for a while now. The fingers, oh the fingers, I don't know if my hands will survive all this typing, which is the curse of death for a writer!

Books: Two things to report. "Orphan Records" is in second edition now. I added a chapter to explain a rather large train wreck. I originally left it to the reader's imagination, and then I got called on the carpet and ask to provide the details. It really is a major wreck. I also cleaned up some character descriptions to make a couple of dudes more accessible. There were several adjustments to sentence structure. It's all a big learning curve for me, and hopefully, provides a better read for future readers. (Now I have to go around and swap books in various libraries - Ugh.)

Also, the third novel is just about to hit the streets. It's called "Harmonics" and is about a band of rock 'n' rollers that play a cruise ship gig. They run into some dramatically difficult problems. You see the cruise is from Earth to Mars and back in the year 2162, and a couple of stowaway mutants are on a pilgrimage back to Mars. These guys are the original inhabitants, who genetic makeup on Earth was modified by DNA shifts, nuclear events, and other ill-fated experiences that left them in a genus that was originally found on Mars, at least a million years ago. Now they want to go home and stake a claim. But there are humans in the way. See the conflict? The band just wants to play, but they become embroiled in the venture. The actions is back on Earth in Las Vegas, the departure point, on Mars, where Planetary Products doesn’t welcome competition, and during the flight out and back without becoming space dust.

Let me know how you like the new coat for the web site.
Wolf-man out...