First Draft

Subscribe to First Draft

First Draft is my newsletter. This is where we visit about what I’m up to, review some books that you might enjoy, see my speaking schedule, and look at some of my research for books in progress. First Draft is also where I publish chapters of the first draft of my serialized novels, such as The (very brief) War Diary of Bart Sullivan and, now, Footprints in the Sand. And, in 2017, this is where we look at what America was doing exactly one century ago when it found itself caught up in the war that didn’t end all wars.

And, just for subscribers to First Draft, I give to you the finished book, The (very brief) War Diary of Bart Sullivan. It is free for you, so link it to the subscribe page and then to the download page


Sample of the newsletter

Welcome to the December issue of my news letter, FIRST DRAFT.

I’m sending you this personal note to stay in touch.

I write every day, make site visits, do research for my next book, teach creative writing for veterans and students, and, for you only and here only, I present The (very) brief War Diary of Bart Sullivan. It is my novella about a draft-dodging black marketing scoundrel you first met in Virginia’s War. It is published for literary insiders here in First Draft and nowhere else, in the classic manner of Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas — one chapter at a time. If you missed last month’s chapter, send me an email and I’ll send it to you. I hope you enjoy it.

Here’s what I’m up to.

History.Net and Military History Magazine have published my World War I history article in their January 2016 edition. Titled (by them, not by me) Into the Homet’s Nest, it recounts the tragic histroy of the first Texas military unit in World War I, which was sent into combat without adequate training and tragically was shot up in its first engagement. The men of the 71st Texas-Oklahoma Brigade of the 36th Infantry Division entered the line at St. Etienne a Arnes, France, in October, 1918. Within hours, the regiment sustained almost 1300 casualties. Bravado, intrigue, and tragedy were the key soldiers in this heart-breaking story.

Catching up: Researh for Jack’s next novel …

I stopped in Faversham, England, in June to do some research and fact checking for the manuscript of my next novel, French Letters: Children of a Good War. This is the church of St. Mary of Charity, some bits of which date to 1070 and which has a role to play in the novel.

I was standing outside the church when a very kind Englishwoman asked if I need directions. She was quite pleased to learn that Faversham has a role in a forthcoming novel but was more skeptical that my name is Jack London. (“Isn’t he dead”)? She asked …