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With the publication of Bacalao in July 2004, J.T. McDaniel solidly established himself as one of the premier maritime authors in recent years. Critic Barbara Buhrer called Bacalao “…the best World War II submarine novel since Edward L. Beach’s Run Silent, Run Deep,” and predicted the book would become “…a classic of submarine [literature].”
Best selling author Homer Hickam (Rocket Boys, The Keeper’s Son, Torpedo Junction) calls Bacalao “…an impressive and exciting novel,” and declares McDaniel “…a terrific writer who has created a classic of wartime adventure.”
Meanwhile, former submariners have hailed Bacalao as “…the most technically accurate submarine story ever.” Perhaps not surprising, as McDaniel was also the creator and original (but not current) webmaster of FleetSubmarine.com, as well as an internationally recognized authority on the American fleet type submarine.
McDaniel’s first novel, With Honour in Battle, was more speculative. Set aboard an experimental U-
“The truth is, any war involves a certain moral dilemma. Most soldiers and sailor aren’t really fighting for a grand cause. They’re fighting to preserve their own lives, and to keep the enemy away from their families. The military is perhaps the only career where you train for years in the hope that you’ll never have to put your training to practical use. No sane man really wants to kill anyone, but you do it because your government, your leaders, tell you it’s important. Most military training is intended to teach the soldier how to overcome his natural revulsion at taking another human life long enough to carry out his mission.”
McDaniel received most of his formal training as a writer courtesy of the United States Army. He enlisted in 1967, taking basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and then going to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, at that time the home of the Defense Information School (DINFOS). The ten-
“Newspaper journalism, which was the emphasis in that school, is a wonderful background for a novelist,” McDaniel says. “You learn to structure your stories. You learn what’s important, what will capture the reader’s attention. The only real negative is that it also trains you to keep everything short. Sometimes too short. I keep starting novels and ending with short stories.
“Still, any formal training helps. Hemingway was a newspaper reporter, remember. So was Ian Fleming. If you learn nothing else, working on a newspaper teaches you how to spell. I did my stint as a reporter and editor in the pre-
Besides writing, McDaniel worked in broadcasting for a number of years, working at radio stations in Florida. A recent outgrowth of his old broadcasting career has been working on spoken word albums of poetry and selections from classical theatre. The first of these, Hamlet: Speeches and Soliloquies, was released on July 24, 2015.
HAMLET: Speeches and Soliloquies
Speeches and soliloquies, by Character:
Claudius: “Though yet of Hamlet,” “’Tis sweet and commendable,” “O, my offence is rank.”
Hamlet: “O, that this too, too solid flesh,” “Now I am alone,” “To be, or not to be,” “How all occasions do inform against me,” “Alas, poor Yorick,” “Give me your pardon,” “I am dead, Horatio.”
Laertes: “For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour.”
Polonius: “Yet here, Laertes!”
First Player: “The rugged Phyrrus,”
Ghost: “I am thy father’s spirit,” (full scene).
Available from: iTunes Store, Apple Music, Amazon MP3, Spotify.
30 August 2015: Some video clips from Hamlet have been added to my YouTube Channel. One of them is linked here. Feel free to share. I can always use the exposure.
15 September 2015: Started a series of Shakespeare analytical, instructional video. This is the first of them:
9 October 2015: The first week of rehearsals for Jeff Daniels’ Escanaba in da Moonlight are completed. I’ll be playing Jimmer, which after all those stuffy Englishmen should be a lot of fun. I don’t get to play perpetually plastered backwoods UFO abductees all that often.
24 July 2015: Hamlet: Speeches and Soliloquies, my new spoken word album, was released for sale. Initially available on the iTunes and Amazon MP3 stores, it is also being released to most other online retailers for download. I’ve started working on another spoken word album of Edgar Alan Poe’s poetry, which should be available later this summer. The Hamlet album has me doing speeches and soliloquies by six different characters,
30 April 2015: Hamlet prep continues. I’ve been uploading some pictures to iStockPhoto.com, with a half dozen available for licensing so far. I may add a Photographs page to this site and put up some stuff for anyone who wants prints.
12 April 2015: I’ve been officially retired for just over a month now. Odd feeling. I don’t think I’m actually working any less. There are books to edit, websites to update, and I still need to finish learning Act 5 of Hamlet. Fun, fun, fun!
28 January 2015: In rehearsal for the role of Solicitor John Mayhew in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution at the Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City, Ohio. Good role, but I fear the second act will present a particular challenge. Mr Mayhew spends the entire second act sitting in a chair in the courtroom and never says a word. I sometimes have enough trouble staying awake when I have dialogue. This is the sixth show I’ve done at LTOB, and I’ve played an Englishman (well, once, a crazy Scottish wizard) in five of them.
2 January 2015: Come this June, I will be appearing as Claudius in the CPC Theatrical production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Abbey Theater of Dublin (Ohio). I’m too old to be Hamlet (and arguably not quite old enough to be Polonius), but, honestly, playing the bad guy is generally a lot more fun. Not to mention, while he may get slightly stabbed at the end, Claudius doesn’t have to learn all that complicated fight choreography required of Hamlet and Laertes. Learning all those lines is enough for me. I’ll leave the (very real) swords to the younger guys.
15 February 2014: Will be appearing in Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City, OH in April/May. I’ll be playing the Mayor in the Finland number, walk on as Sir Not Appearing in This Show, and then return later as Tim the Enchanter, which will undoubtedly be the most fun. If they’re smart, they’ll figure out a way to keep my feet as stationary as possible. No one wants to see me dance (presuming anyone would ever call it that).
15 November 2013: My recently produced play, Coming Out: A Dark Comedy in Two Acts, has been nominated for Best Original Play in the BroadwayWorld.com Columbus Awards. Also nominated from this show was Jim LeVally, who played Rev. James Anderson, for Best Actor in a Play. Martha Kathryn Smith, who played Jim’s wife, was nominated for Best Young Actress for a different show. Voting continues through December 31. The entire play is currently available for viewing on line at the play’s website, ComingOutThePlay.com, and on YouTube.
29 September 2013: Tomorrow begins the final week of rehearsals for Coming Out: A Dark Comedy in Two Acts, at The Abbey Theater of Dublin, leading up to a combination dress rehearsal and preview on Thursday, October 3, and our opening night on Friday, October 4. After the opening we’ll run two more weekends, with performances as 8:00 pm on Fridays, and a 3:00 pm matinee and 8:00 pm evening performance on Saturdays.
8 June 2013: Uploaded a new website, ComingOutThePlay.com. I wrote the play, and will be playing the father in it, along with co-
1 March 2013: Opening night for To Kill a Mockingbird at the Little Theatre Off Broadway, in Grove City, Ohio. I’m playing Judge Taylor in this production. That’s one of those roles where you don’t say a lot, but what you do say is fairly critical. Curiously, this show has reminded me that I seem to be one of those rare men who can shave off a white beard and somehow end up looking older! That’s just not right! Nice turnout for the opening. (Later: In fact, other than opening night, the entire run sold out.)
3 June 2012: Started rehearsals for Into the Woods at Arena Fair Theater in Delaware, Ohio. I’ll be playing the Narrator. Performances scheduled for the first weekend in August, if you happen to be in the area on those dates. I haven’t sung in public for a while, so this should be interesting.
17 February 2012: I’ve posted a video of me reading my short story, A Patient Man, to my YouTube channel, TheJTMcDaniel.
30 November 2011: Doing a little tweeting lately. Who says old guys can’t learn new stuff? Not that anyone is actually following yet.
28 October 2015: The audiobook edition of Bacalao, narrated by Dennis St. John, is now available from Amazon.com and Audible.com. It should also be available in the iBook store shortly, if it isn’t already.
|Coming Out the Play Website|
|USS Barb (SS-220)|
|USS Cod (SS-224)|
|USS Wahoo (SS-238)|
|USS Tang (SS-306)|
|USS Argonaut (SM-1 & SS-475)|
|Run Silent, Run Deep|
|Submarines at War|
|The PaxAm Solution|
|Sea of Shadows|
|Shrek, The Musical|
|The Phantom of the Opera|
|Love Never Dies|
|May 2006 Interview|
|Jan 2014 Interview|
|How a Submarine Dives|
|How a Periscope Works|
|Asdic, Sonar & Detection Gear|
|The Walter Turbine|
|The Typ XXVI U-boat|
|American Fleet Submarines|
|1:72 Gato Model|