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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Enduring dreams of combat

As a kid growing up in 1950’s small town Indiana, I was proud that my dad had fought in the big war, but I had no idea how much horror, anguish and phyical suffering he must have endured. He’s gone now, so I’ll never know the details, but a few years ago I found some disturbing news in a library book about World War II. I looked up 90th Infantry Division in the index and began going to the pages that mentioned their activity. I was stunned at the number of horrific battles they were in, at the heroism, the significance of their campaigns and at the carnage. I hate that he had to endure it. The 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Division, put out a booklet that told the story of their march through Europe. It was rather clinical, doing little more than describing where they went and, briefly, what happened there. On one page, though, there was a backward checkmark (dad was left-handed). It was the only mark he made in the booklet, and I’ll never know why he put it there. It was at a paragraph with the heading The Jaws Close, and it read: “After Le Mans, the Division cut north in clouds of dust toward Alencon, following the Second French Armored Division and blocking to the West any effort of the German 7th Army to escape the inevitable and fast closing Falaise Trap.”  Le Mans, Alencon, Falaise–these were names I heard recently while watching a program on the Military Channel about the Allies’ struggle to break out of the Normandy peninsula, and the raw footage...

Keating was a nightmare

In my new novel, Death’s Door, undercover P.I. and ex-Navy SEAL Jesse Yates has a conversation with a suspected hijacker in an Alabama honky-tonk. When the guy nearly jumps out of his skin because somebody tapped him on the shoulder, he recovers and says one word to Yates: “Keating.” Although Yates hadn’t been there, he understood. Combat Outpost Keating was under constant pressure from the Taliban and was the site of one of the worst battles in the Afghanistan war. I was amazed at what I found out about COP Keating. As was often the case, our troops did a hell of a job there, despite a history of bureaucratic bungling. First of all, the camp was located in an almost indefensible location, practically surrounded by steep mountains, crawling with Taliban snipers. When it was finally ordered shut down, there was a long delay in carrying out the order, again, for largely bureaucratic reasons. A report after the major battle blamed a “mindset of imminent closure” for the fact that the outpost’s defenses were never upgraded, despite intelligence reports of a large scale enemy attack. There were 47 attacks in the five months preceding the showdown, 10 of which hat occurred in the previous month. The report also mentioned that senior commanders were “desensitized” the threat of a large scale attack, having heard it so often over the previous months. It sounds sort of like Hillary Clinton and Benhazi. So, once again, U.S. troops fought valiantly despite costly failures up and down the increasingly bureaucratic chain of command. Eight valiant soldiers died in the day-long battled during which our...

Let ’em do their job!

That truck driver cell phone law still sticks in my craw. It also applies to click-to-talk radios, too. They can’t really think that picking up your radio is dangerous, but now they require you to pull off the road to call your dispatcher. To me, that’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than reaching down to pick up my radio. I didn’t think they’d apply the law to C.B.’s since they can be used to warn other drivers of impending road hazards, but I guess I was wrong. It’s another regulation in an occupation drowning in regulations—another attempt to collect revenue from people who are being targeted so often and by so many that they approach every day as though preparing  to run a gauntlet. In my Novel, Death’s Door, the hero, Jesse Yates and Phil Bolden, who turns out to be a hijacker, are in a honky-tonk commiserating about truck driving, when Bolden tells Yates about a driver who was caught without his seat belt on by a cop on an overpass with binoculars, who then radioed ahead. I hate to say it, but that really happened. What really gets me is that these kinds of things represent the Washington elite treating the rest of us like children, fining us (severely) for doing things that they do with impunity. Of course it’s all just a money grab, since it’s now impossible to collect enough taxes to pay for all their vote-grabbing social programs. Traffic fatalities are down 24% from 2005, but what’s also down? Revenue. You gotta get it somewhere.The law is full of verbiage about drivers...