Murder in Ocean Hall – Get Your Copy!

You can now order my book, Murder in Ocean Hall. My book is a mystery, set in DC, about the murder of the world’s most famous explorer. He’s killed in the Smithsonian, when the replica of a whale falls on top of him. It’s up to a cynical Washington detective to solve the case.

Murder in Ocean Hall is based in fact, drawn from my experience living in dysfunctional DC, and from working in the field of ocean exploration.

Get this new mystery today, now available in print and Kindle editions.

Murder in Ocean Hall – Print Edition

Murder in Ocean Hall – Kindle Edition

Murder in Ocean Hall – Cover Preview

Check out the great cover that my friend Dave Newman designed.  I love it!

So, what’s going on with my book, Murder in Ocean Hall?  In this murder mystery, a famous explorer is killed in Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  Suspects are many and it’s up to a cynical DC detective to solve the case.  The book was inspired by the three years I spent working for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.  Nobody was murdered while I worked there but a lot of the science and the background in the book comes from my time with NOAA.

I’m represented by a literary agent and we’ve been following the traditional publishing route. However, the book publishing world, upended by recession and technological change, is in turmoil so it’s very difficult for a new author to get a book deal.

My contract with my agent ends March 1.

After then, Plan B goes into effect – I’ll publish the book through Lulu (using the awesome cover above) and sell print and e-copies online.

One way or another, Murder in Ocean Hall will be published.

2009 Highlights


It’s the end of the year, and the end of a decade. What were my favorite projects of 2009? What did I have the most fun working on?

Murder in Ocean Hall

I can’t help myself, I like to write fiction. People have asked me how I could leave my job and then spend countless hours alone, in a coffee shop, writing a novel. I’ve offered advice on setting a schedule and being committed, but the truth is that writing a book is a huge sacrifice and something that you must really, really want to do. And something that you must enjoy doing more then anything else. Continue reading “2009 Highlights”

Writing About Creativity for the Pink Line Project

I’m going to be writing for the Pink Line Project.  What’s Pink Line?  Describing itself as “a catalyst for the culturally curious”, the site is a guide to DC’s art and cultural scene.  If you’re looking to attend fun art parties in Washington, and learn more about the arts, it’s a great site to check out.

From watching rollergirls arm-wrestle to dodging skateboarders at a photo exhibit, I’ve enjoyed the Pink Line events immensely.  It’s an unexpected side of stuffy Washington that’s much more interesting than some boring Capitol Hill cocktail party. Continue reading “Writing About Creativity for the Pink Line Project”

The Disintermediation Moment

With the advent of the Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader and the growing acceptance of e-books among readers and writers, it’s safe to say that we’ve reached what I’d call the Disintermediation Moment. This is the time when industries collapse, driven by changes in consumer behavior and expectations. Technology offers new solutions, eagerly adopted by ordinary people, but resisted by middlemen and gatekeepers who want to retain their status, control and income. Continue reading “The Disintermediation Moment”

Murder in Ocean Hall – Where'd the Idea Come From?

Since I finished writing Murder in Ocean Hall, I’ve gotten questions from friends and family regarding the book. Creating something from nothing seems enough of a magical act to inspire some questioning. The question I’ve gotten most is:

Where’d you get the idea from?

I originally planned to write a much different book, something much more serious and literary. It’s a manuscript that I’ve worked on for three or four years and exists on my laptop as a mix of disparate scenes and ideas that have never quite come together. The novel that I had in mind was a much grimmer story, about DC during the summer before 9/11. The book is about people chasing success, unaware that their world is about to be undone.

Finishing that big serious book was my plan. It’s why I decided to leave my government contractor job. Continue reading “Murder in Ocean Hall – Where'd the Idea Come From?”

Murder in Ocean Hall – Almost Done!

I’m in the final stages of my book, Murder in Ocean Hall. I’ve spent a lot of time at Caribou to get this far. Right now, I’m busy proofing the book. I’m done writing it, have edited a couple times already, and am going through the book once more. I’ve printed all 235 pages and and am closely reading the book to catch any mistakes.

Am I really done with the book? Hmm. I could probably spend the rest of my life tweaking it but eventually you have to send it off into the world. “Real artists ship,” to quote Steve Jobs.

Am I happy with the book? Yes. It’s got a beginning, middle and end, interesting characters, some good info on ocean exploration and urban life in DC, and a couple of plot twists. It might meander at times, a bit.

Is it perfect? No. Nothing is as perfect as it is in your head. By putting your idea to paper, you take it out of the ideal world and put it into the real one. This fear of sullying your own creation is a cause of writer’s block. It causes many people not to write anything because they know it won’t be perfect.

What’s next for my book?

Plan A – The Traditional Route.  Look for an agent, try to sell the book to a publisher, and then wait for it to appear in bookstores.

Plan B – The Nontraditional Route. Self-publish it using Lulu or Blurb. Sell it online using one of these print on demand services.

The first path is more prestigious and accepted but the print publishing world is in really bad shape these days. The second road is much easier – I could have a paperback version of the book next week- but it’s more of a DIY project.