I’d Rather Be Writing (or maybe talking about it)

The American Foreign Service Association filmed a few short clips featuring my reflections on Two Pumps for the Body Man, the inspiration behind the novel, and my thoughts on the writing process. It isn't exactly Zack Galifianakis Between Two Ferns (more like Some Guy and Bamboo) but I hope viewers will enjoy it when it becomes available. … Continue reading I’d Rather Be Writing (or maybe talking about it)

New Years Courage for the Novelist

Three weeks on the road--Johannesburg, Paris, London, Myesore, Bangalore, Dehradun, Delhi--and a week recuperating in my lonely Northern Virginia retreat bring an end to the old year and fresh perspective for the new one. Appreciate all the digital colleagues and partners in crime who made 2016 a special year. Looking forward to staying connected, supporting each other, and … Continue reading New Years Courage for the Novelist

When the Music Is the Trip

Speed-reading fans will rejoice in Ted Prokash’s latest gift to literature, Journey to the Center of the Dream. Pills, beer, and blow fuel this fast-paced account of a rock band's tour of 30 cities in five weeks, but even more than the chemical enhancements and a whole lot of weed besides, this epic road trip book … Continue reading When the Music Is the Trip

December 06, 2004

Remembering those we lost. Remembering those who survived. Remembering this awful day and its  protracted aftermath. It's the aftermath that sticks most. The long period that stretched through weeks when our broken mission pulled itself together again. We pulled ourselves up from piles of ash and dust; from the pulverized concrete and glass shattered by bullets fired … Continue reading December 06, 2004

Foreign Service Blogs

The Books & News blog finds itself in good company, listed among many others at the American Foreign Service Association's round up of Foreign Service Blogs. They got me looking around at the work being posted by other diplomats and colleagues overseas. Here's a summary of the first few. Address: TBD Recounts the early steps in the foreign service … Continue reading Foreign Service Blogs

Gratitude: Pie with Beer

The six year old appears bedside in the dark, wants to know if he can go downstairs and write. “I’ll get up and write with you.” He’s written a war story called The Attack of the Red Army. It’s three chapters long. In chapter one Sam and Jacob are enjoying the last bit of summer … Continue reading Gratitude: Pie with Beer

Billy Lynn’s Long Thanksgiving Slog

Thanksgiving. The most American day of the year. More American, perhaps, than the Fourth of July. Throw in a hyperbolically American venue---Texas stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys---and you've got Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (also now in theaters). For the heroes of Bravo squad, barnstorming the U.S. on a brief victory tour to rile up … Continue reading Billy Lynn’s Long Thanksgiving Slog

The Anatomy of Political Implosion

Top 10 list requiring no preface or introduction--- 10. Bubba. She enabled him. He enabled her. Until they didn't. 9. BO. The Affordable Care Act. Its moral necessity was lost on the selfish many. 8. Vlad. Great spook. Spooky guy. Data thief. Exposer of secrets. 7. Gowdy (hair!) & Chaffetz. Drawn out hearings to reveal nothing again … Continue reading The Anatomy of Political Implosion

Two Pumps for the Librarian

Six months back, guy walks into the library. Hands over his Foreign Service novel. "Here ya go." "What's this?" "It's a book. Go ahead. Put it on the shelf." "Not so fast, sonny. Two Pumps for the Body Man? Sounds dirty." "You don't want this novel for your patrons?" "We want four copies of that novel … Continue reading Two Pumps for the Librarian

The Literary Excellence, III

My nominations for The Stephen T. Colbert Award for The Literary Excellence continue. Boy, this effort is really lifting my mood! In Preston Lang's The Sin Tax a female baddy flashes her gun at a male ex-con baddy: "You have to jump through a lot of hoops to get a carry permit in New York. It’s insane. But once … Continue reading The Literary Excellence, III