May 21, 2019

Thanks to the Custodians of History

My new book on “Pirate” Bill Johnston (due out this year) would not exist without the dedication and generosity of the custodians of our history—those people who work in libraries, archives and regional museums.

In 1973, the curator of the Thousand Islands Museum in Clayton, New York, responded to my written request for information on Johnston by mailing me 120 photocopies—the complete serialized biography of Johnston published in the Watertown Daily Times in 1938-39.

May 16, 2019

Genesis of the Bill Johnston Biography

The genesis of my soon-to-be published biography of "Pirate" Bill Johnston occurred in 1973 when a journalism prof at Humber College in Toronto told his students to write a 5000-word feature article on any historical topic.

While browsing through reference material at Toronto’s central library in those pre-Google days, I first read about Bill Johnston. One reference mentioned the Thousand Islands Museum in Clayton, New York. I sent a letter (email did not yet exist) requesting additional information. The curator responded with 120 photocopies—the complete serialized biography of Johnston written by John Northman and published in the Watertown Daily Times in 1938-39. (No longer available.)

Jan 15, 2019

Pending New History Book

Updated May 2019
In early May 2019, I signed a publishing agreement with a US publisher, Beacon Publish Group. They agreed to publish my biography of “Pirate” Bill Johnston. I don’t have a release date yet, but will let you Bill Johnston fans know.

The working title is:

Chieftain of the Thousand Islands
The Life and Legend of Bill Johnston

I began researching Johnston in 1973—not to say I worked on it every year since. I have been active in building up my info since 2010.

The contents of the book go far beyond the material on my history blogs. It provides detailed evidence of his spying and scouting work for the Americans in the War of 1812. It expands on the circumstances of his arrest in 1813. There are more stories about his "quiet" years between 1814 and 1838, and more about his long retirement years.

The contents show where other historians have gone wrong, why they are wrong and how they made their mistakes.

I have written material on Johnston before. That includes a history book for the History Press, now Arcadia, Patriot War along the Canada-New York Border. Johnston appears in the book due to his heavy involvement in the Patriot War. I also maintain a history blog on Johnston.

Nov 8, 2014

Novel: Dark Southern Sun

Dark Southern Sun, the second novel in the Ryan's Journey series, is now available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords, and as paperback at Amazon, CreateSpace, and elsewhere. For a pictorial guide, see the novel's Pinterest board.

Dark Southern Sun, picks up where Counter Currents left off and takes place entirely in Australia.

It is a tale of love, friendship, and honor in the goldfields of old Australia. Ryan washes up on the southern shore of Australia near death in 1845. Rescued by two Wathaurung native children and nursed to health by their parents, his life and theirs are entwined through good and sorrow for the next ten years. Set against the historical backdrop of Australia’s formative years, Ryan witnesses the displacement of the Aboriginal people, and he faces the chaos of the world’s largest alluvial gold rush and the bloodshed of Australia’s only armed uprising. Throughout, two very different women—one white, one black—tug at his heart as he struggles from penury to prosperity. As he rises in social esteem as an astute businessman and cunning street fighter, Ryan creates two bitter enemies—one white, one black. In time, they set aside their vast racial and emotional hatreds and combine forces. Can Ryan survive their vicious attempt to destroy him and save the good life he has built?

The cover art is by Wathaurung elder Marlene Gilson, who also reviewed the novel for cultural accuracy.

Tags: #HistoricalFiction #Adventure #HistoricalRomance #Australia #HistoryAustralia

Mar 30, 2014

Seven Best Writer’s Resources to Come By Email

Updated May 2019
I am stingy with my time. In trying to live a full life and write a book or two a year, I rarely indulge in prowling the Web for useful stuff. At the same time, I know I must stay current on the craft and business of writing and indie publishing. How do I reconcile temporal frugality with the need to know?

Feb 10, 2014

Scribophile: Best Peer-to-Peer Writers' Resource

This is the second installment about indie author communities I find valuable. These are places where you can hone your craft and/or contribute to bettering our profession. 

Updated Feb. 14, 2014
Scribophile, online since February 2008, is a friendly and effective peer-to-peer author critique resource. It bills itself as an “online writing community that provides serious feedback for serious writers.” Basic membership is free. A premium membership is available for an annual fee. It provides extra services and privileges.

Jan 30, 2014

Indies Unlimited: Top Site for Indie Authors

This is the first installment on indie author communities I find valuable. These are places where you can hone your craft and/or contribute to bettering our profession.

If I had just one indie author site to subscribe to, it would be Indies Unlimited. This site, which began in October 2011, offers everything an indie author needs to get noticed, develop one’s talents and engage in the indie author community.