Sir Perceval is most traditionally the hero of the grail quest, although in some versions the hero is Sir Galahad, and according to a certain Heinrich von dem Türlin the hero is Sir Gawain.  Heroes come, heroes go, but the grail is always the grail.  Except when it isn’t.  But when it is, it’s always […]

Read more

The quest for the grail is an extended metaphor.  The grail itself (graal in Middle English) is nothing.  Okay, it’s a shallow serving dish. The story of the quest for the grail is not about finding a shallow serving dish.  If it’s about finding anything, it’s about finding one’s self. The usual hero of the […]

Read more

The 17th already?  And only the second blog entry for the month.  Caramba.  What a lackadaisical blogger I am. It was easier to stay on top of this when I was driving truck.  Hunkered down in the sleeper cab, parked in some diesel- and urine-redolent truckstop, it was pretty easy to find the time to […]

Read more

That’s what a potential customer, her eye on the title, asked the other day.  She was not, she warned me, religious. No, I assured her.  Not a religious book at all.  It’s based, in fact, on one of the stories surrounding King Arthur and his famous Table. Usually the religious question comes up only once […]

Read more

You know how in that ground-breaking work of narrative fiction called The Great American Desert there’s all that talk about how the Piasa Bird has been moved, over the years, to various places up and down the river? Well, the peregrinations fowl has flown again. Not only that, but this time she’s been painted right […]

Read more

That’s twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred and seven words, and that’s what the first draft of part one of the new novel has come to. It’s a relief to be able to say the draft is done, as it was moving really slowly there towards the end as the threads of the story were winding in […]

Read more

It is now five days, I see, since my last entry. I’d like to say that that’s because I’ve been hard at work on the new novel, but the truth is that I’ve been distracted by another assignment. The good news is that I may have an agent for Desert. I’ve been sending it out […]

Read more

In the past week I’ve gotten two virtually identical comments from readers of The Great American Desert: Beautiful writing, but where’s the plot? I may have it engraved on my headstone. What do people want anyway? An adventure story? There are lots of true adventure stories out there. There are history books, too, and biographies. […]

Read more

Fictional characters are not the reliable servants people sometimes take them for. Not real characters, anyway. Not ones in character-based fiction. With the other kind, plot-based, they tend to get short-changed. They’re pushed around sometimes like chess pieces. But real characters need to walk around for a while, say and do and think about things […]

Read more

One of the toughest things that people ask me on a regular basis is what The Great American Desert is about.  It’s a rather densely-packed ball of wax, so actually there are lots of answers I could give, none of which unfortunately are especially concise.  This is one of the reasons why I ask my […]

Read more