Mingo River

That’s the Mingo River behind me.  It’s part of the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in Stoddard County in the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri.  Geologists tell us that 25,000 years ago this muddy slough was the main channel of the Mississippi River!  It’s named after a group of Iroquois speaking Seneca and Cayuga Indians that moved into the area in the 1830’s on their way from Ohio to Oklahoma. The Mingo would be a lot larger today if the water inflow into it were not blocked by the Castor River Diversion Channel, beginning about ten miles north of this spot and diverting runoff from the Ozark Mountains into the Mississippi River fifty miles to the east.  That’s part of the Little River Drainage District, the largest drainage project in the United States, and it drains 500 square miles of what was impenetrable swamp but is now the best farm land in the world.  That story, beginning with those Indians is the subject of my next book.  In my last post I showed what some of that land looks like today.  I was going to call the book  Bootheel, but I think Mingo River sounds better.

If any of my Bootheel friends have old family tales that have been passed down from their ancestors about the draining of the swamp, give me a call or send me an email.  This will be historical fiction, so names would be changed.  Shamelessly using other people’s stories is what we authors do.  We call it research.

Cotton harvest and the new book

I was back in Southeast Missouri last week researching my next novel, and it starts right here in this cotton field south of Kennett.  A giant six row cotton picker falls into a hole and the farmer discovers a century-old storm shelter lined with 1×12 cypress planks, and a mystery involving his family going back to before the Civil War.  Bootheel will be a multigenerational saga about the Little River Drainage District and the largest swamp drainage project in America; a bodice ripping romance of hot blood, money, power, jealousy and adventure.  A tale of finance, vision, politics, greed, and the transformation of uninhabitable swamps into the world’s best farm land and its utilization by industrial agriculture on a grand scale.  It will take a year or more to write.  In the meantime, look for Sliding Delta, a novel about the Delta blues I’m currently shopping to agents.


Free Audio Books!

Help!  I need some audio book reviews.  I have some free promotion copies to distribute to friends, fans, and family.  If you would like to listen to one of my stories, narrated by one of the best professional narrators in the business, let me know.  The Other Pilot is at

But, you must agree to listen to the whole ten hours and then upload a review to the Audible web site.  To do that you would go back to the link to the book and find the button to add an Audible review.  It doesn’t have to be long or flowery, just honest.  A four or five star rating would be nice.  Mention something about the narration.

The Devil on Chardonnay was just released yesterday.  You can find it at

To download an audio book you can download a free app and listen to it on your computer, or on any listening device or smartphone.  Trust me on this, it isn’t hard.  I’m the guy who hasn’t figured out Facebook yet.  You will have to open an account by giving your email, but that’s free.  They will pitch you on joining their monthly program but you don’t need to do that.

I have a limited number of freebies, and I can’t guarantee everyone will get one, so let me know ASAP.  I’ll give you the details on how to get your free audio book when I answer your email.

The Fourth Domain: Excerpt on KindleScout, vote now!

Boyd Chailland is back!  And, there’s a woman in his life.  As Boyd matures the challenges become more a matching of wits with the forces of evil, yet, there are still asses to kick and aircraft to fly in odd places around the world.  Get a taste of his latest adventure by going to  Nominate Boyd to fly and fight under Amazon’s banner, which will massively expand promotion of his series and bring Boyd into the mainstream of thriller and adventure fiction.

The KindleScout program brings readers into the selection process for new fiction as editors review reader responses to previously unpublished excerpts and decide which ones Amazon will publish.  Their promotion capabilities are vast and the first selections published have jumped to the top of the bestseller lists.

Audiobook: The Other Pilot

The Other Pilot is released in audiobook today!  For the past two months I’ve been working with George Kuch, an experienced narrator who has produced more than 45 novels.  Though I wrote the words and have read, edited and polished them for years until I could almost recite the whole story, it sounds new and fresh with  George’s different nuance and phrasing.  Now I know why some people prefer to have their stories read.  It’s fun.

The Other Pilot audiobook has been produced through Audiobook Creation Exchange, ACX, a marketplace for authors, narrators, producers, agents, and publishers to create and distribute audiobooks.  ACX is a major distributor for Amazon and the sole distributor for the Itunes store in addition to having their own store at  Audiobooks were a $1.5  Billion market last year and are increasing 30% per year.  Now I know why.  Most audiobooks today are digital downloads onto all kinds of devices; listening devices, computers, smart phones, Ipods, etc.

If sales go as expected I could soon be working with George on The Devil on Chardonnay, The Mingrelian, and as soon as it’s published, The Fourth Domain.

So, go to Audible, or wait a couple days for Amazon, or Itunes, and find The Other Pilot and listen to the sample.  It’s a kick!

Angels Twenty: A Book Review

How does it really feel to be a fighter pilot in combat?  Virtually all of the books on the subject tell of the thrill of living on the edge of death, where one slight miscalculation or turn of luck can end your life.  Valor isn’t risking your life unafraid, it’s risking your life scared shitless but doing it anyway.  That is Edwards Park’s story, and it’s fascinating.  Sent to Australia to fly the already obsolete Bell Aircobra, P-39, Park flew out of Port Moresby, New Guinea in 1943, protecting the airfield from marauding Japanese bombers escorted by much superior fighters.  The story is billed as fiction; the account of Beaver Squadron, young American heroes facing the war in their own fatalistic way, but it accurately follows Park’s actual experiences.  I’ve cross referenced his dates and battles; he was there.

Park survived and became a writer and journalist, working for the Smithsonian Institution.  He shows the human side of the pilots and gives the best descriptions I’ve read of what it was actually like to fly those old piston engine aircraft; the smells, the feeling, the thrills, the panic.

As America overpowers Japan the fight moves north and East from New Guinea, with Beaver Squadron following along in their inferior aircraft filling in however they can; taking casualties from accidents and the Japanese, making their contribution.

I’m doing research for a novel on this era and  bought a used copy of this book because it is out of print and not available as an Ebook.  If you want a humanistic, very different view of war, this is for you.



The Fourth Domain: Ed Baldwin’s new book

draft cover Domain

This is the first draft of the cover for my newest adventure novel The Fourth Domain.  It’s a political drama with world wide scope. Deadlocked most of the time, with sudden consensus congress can act in an afternoon; not the best way to govern a nation.  The Fourth Domain  is about how it happens, and what can result.  Protagonist Major Boyd Chailland is called to action yet again to go undercover in the Pentagon.

What do you think?



My novel The Devil on Chardonnay is about an Ebola outbreak that spreads to the United States.  I’ve been fascinated by this illness since I was the Pentagon action officer creating the Global Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance and response System.  I had access to the world’s experts on Ebola and I milked them shamelessly for insight as I was going to write a novel about it. The beginning of The Devil on Chardonnay  is based on the account I got in person from the army veterinarian who observed the Kikwit outbreak for the World Health Organization in 1996.

Ebola lives in the jungle of the Congo basin, and outbreaks start when people kill and butcher monkeys for food.  Ebola spreads from contact with bodily fluid, especially blood, and it’s 80% fatal.  No other illness except rabies has that high a fatality rate; not smallpox, not anthrax, not meningitis.  It isn’t endemic in monkeys because it kills them as fast as it kills people, so a small group that gets Ebola is wiped out.  Where does Ebola live between primate outbreaks?  That’s the biggest mystery in microbiology.

I did extensive research for The Devil on Chardonnay.  The only departure from scientific fact in the story involves a slight evolution that makes it viable in a mosquito’s stomach and therefore transmissible by that insect vector.  Ebola doesn’t do that.  Everything else, including the vaccine technology in the story is factual.  It is one hell of a story.  If you want to know all about Ebola, read The Devil on Chardonnay.



Mississippi John Hurt: A Book Review

Published as part of the American Made Music series by the University Press of Mississippi, Mississippi John Hurt is a well written biography of  legendary blues musician John Hurt by Philip R. Ratcliffe.  Tracing Hurt’s family back to slavery days, Ratcliffe gives us the background which must be a part of any study of blues music.  It also gives us a view of music in the middle of the last century.  The music industry today is based on music copyrights establishing  authorship so that royalties can be paid.  But, Hurt and the other musicians first recorded in the 1920’s bent familiar melodies and changed words to fit their own styles and moods.  For example, Hurt’s recording of the familiar song “Frankie and Johnny,” is about Frankie and Albert.

John Hurt was a small, quiet, unassuming man from Avalon, Mississippi, which is just at the edge of the Mississippi delta.  He was discovered in 1926 and made several records in Memphis and New York before the depression claimed all the recording companies.  He went back to farming and was re-discovered in 1963 during the folk music revival.  He went on tour at age 70 and died in 1966.

John Hurt played the guitar by running a constant bass beat on the top three strings with his thumb, index, and middle fingers while playing a melody on the bottom three strings with his ring and little finger, sometimes plucking the frets above with his left hand.  It’s light and airy with none of the harsh, string stretching improvisation that came with electric guitars in the 1950’s.  His music would be categorized as Old Blues, i.e., part folk music, part blues, part African rhythm and style.  He sounds more like Jimmie Rogers, the father of Country Music also recorded in 1926, than Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker.

Ratcliffe has given us a window into the society of Mississippi during the Jim Crow years, and it’s nuanced.  The Ku Klux Klan was an ever present threat to blacks who violated the strict segregation rules of the time, yet Hurt’s family and friends describe a friendly rural area where the races lived together and cooperated in farming and logging.  Their social lives revolved around their churches, segregated by race, and the local store, where the races mixed.  Black and white people enjoyed John Hurt’s singing and playing.

I bought this book as research for my next book, Sliding Delta.  A quest to find Mississippi John Hurt and learn to pick the Delta Blues takes a Chicago college boy south of Memphis in the summer of 1965.  It’s a coming of age historical novel about the delta, the blues, and The South.

Civilian Warriors by Erik Prince: A Book Review

Read this book to understand how our government works.  Politicians will say one thing on television and then do just the opposite in private, and sometimes that’s a good thing.  If we made it easy to go to war we’d be doing it all the time.  Nobody wants that, so our elected officials cut the military budget, debate hotly any movement of our boys overseas, and then when something absolutely positively has to be done they hire a contractor.  That’s Blackwater.

The whole title of Prince’s book is Civilian Warriors:  The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror.  Prince is the founder and former CEO of the security contractor Blackwater that protected American diplomats and performed many other duties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  After doing exactly what they’d been paid to do Blackwater and Erik Prince were later vilified in the media and congressional hearings by the same people who hired them.  Forced by contractual obligations to be silent about Blackwater’s activities, Prince is now opening up with both barrels, and he’s dishing some dirt.

I write international thriller fiction based on reality, and books like Civilian Warriors supplement my own experience in creating stories.  I’m working on a geopolitical thriller now, The  Fourth Domain, and there is a civilian contractor deeply involved.