Entries by hy

Living Dangerously

“It’s against regulations.” The phrase is everywhere these days. When four boxes of books arrived from my printer, the delivery driver backed his vehicle up to the garage but would not carry the books inside. “It’s against regulations,” he said. I bent to lift a box while he stood flatfooted at the entrance to the […]

What Day Is It?

It must be Sunday, because New Year’s Day, like Christmas Day, always falls on a Sunday. That at least is what happens with the Hanke-Henry calendar, a proposed replacement for the Gregorian calendar (the one we know and love). The Hanke-Henry has eight months of 30 days and another four of 31, for a total […]

The English Words to Silent Night

You can make a lot of money writing a Christmas carol these days, and in the twentieth century, people did, notably Irving Berlin (White Christmas) and Johnny Marks (Rudolf), to name just two. Prior to that, people just wrote them because that’s what they liked doing. Time, then, to give a shout out to the […]

The Land of Moose and Cattle

I saw moose everywhere on my journey last August through western Canada. Moose, elk, deer, bear. I saw them all—on signs. Lots and lots of warning signs, the most unnerving of which was “Watch for moose next 65 km” followed seconds later by “Moose next 2 km.” They never materialized. Not once during my 4,000 […]

Books I’ve been reading

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce My rating: 3 of 5 stars I may be a little stingy with the stars for this story, and that could be because I did some long-distance walking myself once, and found myself questioning one or two details of Harold’s walk. But that’s really a side […]

Why my books aren’t longer

I came to fiction writing much too late, and only after I’d mastered a technique that earned me a good living as a nonfiction editor and writer, but which was absolutely disastrous to a would-be novelist. It was this: for any piece of prescriptive writing—speech, presentation, brochure, anything where persuasion is involved, which means most […]

Researching “The Roughneck”

It’s astonishing how much detail you can find online for just about any background, locale or occupation. For my forthcoming book about oil drilling (working title The Roughneck) I have pages and pages of link references to forums, videos and websites. Much of it is good stuff, and most of it’s reliable, although you have […]

Getting the Lowdown on Big Equipment

I recently completed a first draft of my fourth novel, set in the Canadian oil fields. The research had an appeal all its own and might have gone on for weeks, but I finally called a halt and simply pushed out the draft. Bitter experience has taught me that you can make research the end […]

Mary Stewart: A Fine Old Storyteller

The Moonspinners/Nine Coaches Waiting/The Ivy Tree/Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart My rating: 4 of 5 stars I enjoyed all Mary Stewart’s early books, and some of her historical novels. She had a deceptively simple style that pulled you in and allowed her to work quite effectively on your emotions, while being light and […]

Self-Editing for Self Publishers

I’m apt to exhaust my editing budget long before my book goes to press. I want the developmental and structural advice my editor can provide, and that advice generally comes midway in the process and necessitates revisions to plot and character and substantial rewrites. The trouble is, once I’ve executed the recommended changes, I’d like […]