James Hockenberry

Author Hockenberry’s March 2017 Blog

Author James Hockenberry’s March 2017 Blog
 
 
 
My March 2017 blog
contains a bit of history, something about the books, a writing tip, and odds
and ends. I’d love you to send any thoughts, comments or suggestions to info@jameshockenberry.com . Many
thanks.

1)     
A little bit of World War I history:
In my research for the
third book in my WWI trilogy, I was surprised to learn that the American
Meuse-Argonne offensive (late September 1918 –
November 11, 1918) was the largest and bloodiest U.S. military engagement in our country’s history.
About 1.2 million
U.S. soldiers were involved; casualties exceeded 100,000 killed, wounded,
missing, and invalided. I would have guessed it was the
Battle of the Bulge.
2)    
What you did not know about the books:
Whenever I could, I visited
all the places mentioned in Over Here.
I can still show you the impact of shrapnel on the Morgan Bank building from an
anarchist’s attack (that occurred in the exact same place as my climax) on
September 1920. Physically seeing a location is critically important for accuracy
and gives me a sense of the place.
Three examples: I walked
across
Liberty Park from the ferry stop to the plaque that commemorates the attack on Black Tom Island. Martin makes the same walk, and I needed to know
how long it would take him. Although the former NYPD Police HQ is now high-rent
condos, the doorman kindly allowed me to walk in and take a peek. In the minute
I was there, I got a sense of the main reception area and saw the spiral
staircases towards the back of the building. I closed my eyes and imagined how
it looked in 1916. The townhouse at 123 West 15 Street is no longer there, but
I could visualize the carriages lined up and Beck arriving with Mena Reiss.
3)     Writing
tip:
AND” is not your friend. A rule I’ve set for myself is
– say it once; say it best; move on.
Often writers use two words to describe the same thing, reflecting lack of
confidence that they have communicated their message adequately. Adding words
diminishes the text. Here’s an example:
·        
He was mad
and upset. Which is it?
Be more descriptive. Show
more, tell less –
·        
He was so mad
saliva shot out of his mouth. 
                          or
·        
He was so
distraught his jaw quivered with indecision.
If you use “and”, try to
make a comparison by using words that normally do not go together: He was angry
and relieved.  (Interesting – why? Tell me more.)
4)     Odds and
Ends:
a.     
What am I
reading?
                                                             
i.     
Russia’s Last
Gasp – The Eastern Front 1916-17
, by
Prit Buttar. I continue to delve deeper into WWI history, including the lesser known
war on the Eastern Front.
                                                           
ii.     
Called Out But Safe, A Baseball Umpire’s Journey,
by Al Clark and Dan Schlossberg.
I’ve
loved baseball since I was a kid, and this book is filled with great stories
from a man who called some historic games.
                                                         
iii.     
My wonderful
Thrillerfest friend and great supporter Sandra Brannan’s book, Jacob’s Descent, a Liv Bergen Mystery.
This is Sandra’s 6th Liv Bergen book, and it’s a wonderful ride
filled with fun characters (who you’d like to talk to in a bar), a fast moving
plot, and many surprises. All of Sandra’s books are worth reading. Her research
is impeccable, and her writing flows crisply.
b.     
Until I
receive my copyright on So Beware,
I’m on-hold.  The last step before the
publication phase begins is a final review by my proofreader(s).
 
[status publish]