Updated March, 2003
Added Note June, 2003
Note from 6/21/03: See The 7.9 Saga for subsequent happenings on this matter after you have finished reading what is below. sjp
Having finished what I hoped to be the final version of "Memphis 7.9," then stripping out two hundred pages and using those to start a companion book called "Broken River 7.9," I realized there were still many stories to tell. I had left most of the main characters hanging, with their futures still in doubt. Only the JQ character appeared to have reached a conclusion (I killed him).
Broken River 7.9 details what happens to the Mississippi River and the flooded land surrounding the river channel in the earthquake. It begins a couple of days before the big event and focuses on Buddy Joe Simpson, a towboat captain, and Barney, an excursion riverboat captain, as they try to save their crafts and passengers atop the churning river. They collect refugees along the river as they make their way down to Memphis, arriving to find destruction instead of the safe haven they had sought.
Holy Grail 7.9 tells the story of Chris, Alex, and Tina as they make their way down the east side of the Mississippi to Memphis after the earthquake. They reach the city and their attempts to help in the recovery form the backdrop for conflict that erupts between Chris Nelson and Paul Kenton, his advisor and now rival suitor for the interests of Jenny Fox, over Chris's earthquake prediction discoveries.
Exodus 7.9 documents the havoc further away from the epicenter and describes the efforts of the Foxes and Buddy Joe to lead a group of refugees from Memphis down the river in coal empty barges. The water caravan finds less destruction but more discrimination as the people along the river try to keep the refugees from landing, fearing for their own well-being and supplies.
Epilogue 7.9 is a possible follow up, speculating on the future of the states around the New Madrid Fault in the years that follow the earthquake as the national government and states and survivors strive for the recovery of the region.
Producing these books will be a major undertaking, but I believe not as much as the effort I put into the first one.
I also have several other projects in mind or underway.
Tom and Judy Fox become roving RVers to allow Tom the opportunity to write about various subjects. With Judy driving through the land they find themselves faced with variety of crime scenes, the first of which is at Bodie, where Judy becomes an amateur sleuth and solves a complex murder case for the Deputy Sheriff at Bridgeport.
Since I seem to thrive on writing about natural disasters, my next major undertaking will be called The Wakening of Yellowstone and will use the rebirth of the volcano as a backdrop to the rescue of a runaway boy by a suspected murderer. I plan to do some of the research this summer in Wyoming.
In the meantime, I am working on Life in a Small Cave , a non-fiction piece (well, there is some interspersed fiction) that can be found at this website.
And of course, there is the commitment to keep this website up to date.
That's my agenda at this point. It should keep me busy but not out of trouble.