See Where It All Began

. . .’a genuinely creepy villain’ and a maverick private detective with ‘enough personality to sustain a series.’

–Publishers Weekly


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My writing career included several years in the newspaper business as a reporter, copy editor and managing editor and five years as a freelance copywriter. While trying to make a living in the traditional sense, I managed to do a lot of writing in my spare time–work I wanted to do, things I wanted to write, things I never got paid for.

Eventually, my spare-time creative writing began to pay off. I signed with an agent in Los Angeles and later one in New York, and I managed to option my screenplay, Big Sandy, to a Hollywood producer and make some money.

I mention those close calls and moral victories because I think there are thousands of people with those kinds of experiences–writers who have studied their craft and paid their dues and who will now provide material for the exploding digital publishing revolution.  I’m talking about writers who didn’t have the time, contacts, opportunity (okay, maybe talent) to succeed in the world of traditional publishing, but who, given the opportunity, just might find a market for their fiction.

I’ve enlisted in the Independent Publishing Revolution, and I’m a gung-ho soldier. There’s no doubt in my military mind that the best is yet to come, and I’m looking forward to the day I’m finally proclaimed an overnight success.


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The World’s Smartest Man

Remember when you thought your father was the smartest man in the world? I do. And I remember how I felt the day I found out he wasn’t. I just came right out and asked him if he knew everything. He laughed and said no. I was let down, but somehow I had begun to sense it and was somewhat prepared to accept a slightly more realistic image of the big guy. He was still the best dad in the world, and he held that title for the rest of his life. The way my daughter found out that I didn’t know everything was more abrupt, and my wife was more shocked that day than my little girl was, but not because she suddenly realized I wasn’t the smartest man in the world. She had known it from Day One. This happened in Kendallville, Indiana–a great little Midwestern town. My wife got called in as a substitute teacher that day, so it fell to me to get Katie dressed and off to school. It so happened that Carol was teaching the first grade class that Kate attended. When she walked into the classroom, my wife was horrified. Katie had her dress on backwards. Carol took our little first-grader into the restroom and put the dress on right. She said, “Katie, you know how this dress goes.” “Well, I figured if daddy put it on that way, you must be able to wear it either way.” All I could say was I thought the buttons went in front. I’m pretty sure that was the day that Katie figured it out,...

I still love Major League baseball, but…

I admitted to my email subscribers that I was now a card carrying curmudgeon. I’ve earned it, and I’m going to play the card I’ve been dealt. So, let me start by laying into Major League Baseball, which I have loved since the 1950s. First, a little background. I was the kid who rode his bike up and down the alleys and up and down the blocks, knocking on doors, hollering at open windows, trying to get up a game of baseball in the field behind the American Legion. I was the instigator. But when my Milwaukee Braves were playing the Cubs, whose games I could pick up on the radio (in Northern Indiana) , I was also the kid who could and did spend a whole summer day up in his room listening to a double header on the radio and keeping a scorecard of both games. I used to wonder what the big deal was about speeding up the game; hell, I thought they went too fast. Today I can watch every Braves game on TV since I live in Alabama. But I don’t have the patience to actually sit and watch a whole game. I hit the record button and then come and go as I please. Even if a game is going well, holding my interest, I like to let the recording get ahead a bit, not only to cruise past commercials, but to protect against the dreaded umpire replay consultation–you know, three or four umps standing around wearing headphones for five minutes. I prefer to get the bad news fast, with no drama. So...

Was it the worst of times or the best of times?

“Ask most combat veterans to name the worst experiences of their lives, and they’ll probably tell you it was war. But here’s the confusing part. When you ask them to choose the best experiences of their lives, they’ll usually say it was war, too.” This is the best account I’ve ever read on the topic. It absolutely nails the mindset of my DEATH’S DOOR protagonist, Jesse Yates....