Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Not so long ago, when recommending to you the free online magazine, the Jimston Journal, I quite overlooked one important feature. It is that the editor of said journal, Jim Jimston aka Andrew F. O'Hara, is himself the author of a recently published book called The Swan.

Subtitled 'Tales of the Sacramento Valley', this is a work inspired by John Steinbeck. You can buy The Swan in hardback or paperback, but, as in the case of all sensible publications these days, you can download the whole thing in pdf form first.

Mike French is the author of a novel called The Dandelion Tree, and he has a blog on which he talks about the processes of writing and marketing the book. But wait, before you rush off to the next item, thinking that this is all very familiar -- he covers a lot of other ground as well. And in any case, those of you in a similar position can learn quite a lot from Mr French's experience.

Said author also has another web site, on which he is posting the book chapter by chapter, but only when encouraged to do so by readers' votes. Interesting idea. Both web sites, by the way, are a cut above the average in terms of design.

Back in September 2005, I wrote a post entitled 'Who is John Twelve Hawks?' During the past two years, this has generated a surprising amount of comment.

Now I find that Steve Huff has been doing some serious research into the author's true identity. Steve describes his extensive enquiries on his blog, and he has also written a longer and somewhat varied version of the same piece on Blogger News Network.

Steve chooses not to state the name of the man whom he believes to be lurking behind the Twelve Hawks pseudonym, but, with the aid of Google, it really isn't difficult to work out who he has in mind.

And who, you may be wondering, is Steve Huff? Well, he says he's a crime writer and a tenor. But that doesn't sound very likely, does it? Could it be that this is just another pseudonym for the Twelve Hawks guy, banging the drum in a different way?


True Crime Weblog Admin (Steve Huff) said...

Nope. I'm me, the guy you see in the photo.

And anyone who is familiar with the typical plot of verismo operas (Cav/Pag, for instance) knows there isn't always that big a leap from opera to true crime :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to the Steve Huff article, Michael. Huff thinks that John Twelve Hawks is an American screenwriter named Robert Mark Kamen (I don't know why he's being coy about it). If I had only read The Traveller, I might agree with this theory, but I recently finished The Dark River. There's a scene halfway through the book -- a party set at a squat in South London. It feels real, like the writer had lived in that world. My thought at the time was that Hawks is either British or that he's spent a great deal of time in Britain. Kamen lives at his own vineyard in California.

Anonymous said...

I note that your last post on Mr. Hawks was another that generated a long stream of 'Anonymous' comments. I always find these fascinating. To his good fortune, his books have done reasonably well, perhaps bolstered by the "who-mystery," good support by the powers that be, and some clever marketing.

Anonymous said...

I've had a read of Mike French's Dandelion Tree – at least, the prologue and first chapter. That was enough for me to digest at one sitting. The feast of metaphors and similes, so beautiful and apt in themselves, was distracting me from the story-line. I felt 'full up' and unable to concentrate on the meat of the story.

As to TIME and the preciousness of 'the moment' - how true. But sometimes it helps to think beyond the present in order to cope with the 'now'. Or so I have found. I am thinking of when the body or 'soul' (mind, spirit or what you will) is in unbearable pain. If you know time will relieve the agony, imagining how things might, or should be, does help. This may involve memories of the past.

As for writing, it is human to want to see your baby born. Many months of writing (living in the present as you write each thought and action of the characters), there begins to develop a certain anticipation of seeing the 'child of your soul' there before you - in print! Sometimes it is that which keeps you going.
Unfortunately, it is usually a case of the offspring being rejected: "What and ugly baby!" So we sigh or weep and look forward to when, with love and care, the ugly duckling, duly nurtured, is seen as a swan!

Anonymous said...

"The feast of metaphors and similes, so beautiful and apt in themselves, was distracting me from the story-line"
Ah, yes. Looks like the need for a few more 'naked nouns' is a increasingly common one (as Sebastien Cheraz has discussed in the latest review to appear at Underneath the Bunker)

Anonymous said...

hello andy

Payton L. Inkletter said...

Gladys, you have just said, regarding TIME and the offspring of our pens, so beautifully what I tried and failed to say yesterday...

savannah said...

Thank you for the link to Jimson Journal I received my first copy! I'll look for the new book.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, leave it to Gladys Hobson to say in her unique and beautiful way what we stammer over. Her work is in the Journal, by the way, and her delightful books at Magpies Nest Publishing.

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