Sunday, December 15, 2013

Humble Beginnings:  Pilot error, blogging, and the occasional lapse of reason

And so it begins.  I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a blog for years, and I’m very excited at the prospect of finally making it happen.  Blogs can do a great many things, but what I want for this one, is for it to be for my readers.  Whatever else it might become, I want this to remain a direct link from you to me.  I’ve been the recipient of so many wonderful emails over the years, people telling me how much they enjoyed my books, asking questions, and I love that interaction.  Thank you for that privilege, you’ve truly made my efforts as a novelist worthwhile. I’ll be honest, I love talking shop.  It’s one of my favorite parts of being an author.  When I make public appearances, there is never a shortage of interesting questions about the ideas, technology, and methodology I use in my thrillers.  I’m hoping this platform allows for a broader exchange of those thoughts and questions.  That’s my goal, plain and simple.  Years ago, I wrote this autobiographical account of my very first flight as a pilot.  It happened, it really hurt, and I got into trouble for breaking my glasses.

The full force of the gale howled in from the south. It was a windy day, even by Kansas standards.  My two previous attempts to fly had been foiled as the gusty thirty-knot winds had ripped the ungainly cardboard wings from my twelve-year-old hands. My best friend had just applied the final strip of duct tape and I was now one with my hastily constructed flying machine.  Certain that the final engineering problem had been remedied, I once again steadied myself at the top of the small hill.  I took a deep breath, launched myself into the sky, and just as quickly came to a sudden, violent stop.  A smile broke out across my blood and dirt-streaked face—I knew in my heart I had flown!  It was the first time I'd ever been a pilot, and the last time I ever crashed.

As I look back, I can remember the fear of trying something new.  How I weighed the risk and the reward, and mixed in the possibility of catastrophic failure.  Then I did it anyway.  Of course I calculated everything wrong, and ended up digging a trench into the baked Kansas soil with my face. 
In hindsight, it’s obvious that the crash of flight 001 was due to pilot error.  I had never tried to fly using wind and cardboard.  I was inexperienced, undereducated, and more than a little naive in picturing myself wheeling and climbing in the sky.  Thankfully, my imagination filled in the gaps with glimpses of success which helped me make that leap.  I still possess the same occasional lapse of reason, and perhaps I’ll share some other misadventures it’s caused, but the important thing is that I survived.   So as this blog takes shape, understand that it’s far different from writing novels, and it’s every bit as daunting as cardboard wings taped to twelve-year old hands.  That’s where my imagination kicks in, hopefully.  If I fall on my face, at least I know what that feels like.

I already have some ideas churning around for the next installment, but I will always welcome your suggestions.  In the meantime, please feel free to check out and comment on the new website.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions about my books, and of course, anything and everything about aviation is on the table. Please spread the word. 
Enough theory—let’s turn this thing into the wind and fly. 

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