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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Marijuana seems to ease PTSD symptoms

I’m no expert on marijuana, but my gut tells me there’s something to it. I won’t try to tell you I have no experience with the evil weed, but I will say that it hasn’t been a big part of my life. I guess there are three main reasons. I’m a booze guy, initiated as a young Hoosier in Ohio border towns where 18-year-olds could legally drink 3.2 beer. Man, those bars were like Old West saloons. It’s a good thing we didn’t carry six-shooters. The prospect of being hassled by the law was a definite turn-off. Pot didn’t seem to do much for me. Well, there was this one time when I had a layover in Saigon and met up with my best friend from home… Back to topic: I don’t think anybody escapes the horrors of war unharmed. Chemical and genetic makeup probably help some people deal with it better than others, but I believe that a feeling of isolation compounds all the thoughts and images of battle that plague combat veterans. Deep down, they can feel permanently isolated from civilian society because they think nobody really knows them anymore and never will. They only feel truly normal among other veterans, but when they get home their chances of coming in contact with someone who has shared their experience is mighty slim. Support groups can be a big help if you have access to one. A couple of veterans in Olympia, Washington, have started a group that focuses on using marijuana to help reduce the incidence of suicide among combat veterans. One of these guys says he...

Kerry built his career on the backs of U.S. troops

The Obama administration can really pick a Secretary of State. First it was Hillary, whose incompetence and lack of concern got an ambassador and three other good men killed, and then you get John Kerry who built his political career on the backs of his brothers in arms. I can’t think of anything worse than coming back home and lying to your countrymen about the guys you went to war with. Kerry testified before congress in 1971 and talked about all the atrocities we committed in Vietnam, and he knew damn well that the vast majority  of U.S. troops (and probably every one he ever laid eyes on) were doing in Vietnam what always done–fighting with honor and courage while doing their best to help and defend the civilian population. Anyway, how would he know about all these atrocities? He was only there for four months. He put himself in for three Purple Hearts and got the hell out. In his testimony he claims to have met with 100 veterans in Detroit who admitted murdering, raping and mutilating civilians in Vietnam, sometimes just shooting people for the fun of it. If his pals were telling the truth, they should be in Leavenworth. I don’t know the exact truth about his wounds, but, since none of them caused him to miss any duty time, they couldn’t have been significant. No doubt most guys who spent a year or more over there got their share of cuts, scrapes and minor injuries during combat activity without getting a Purple Heart. I know a lot of guys who, if they had somehow managed...

The strange ‘Madmen’ view of the Vietnam War

I couldn’t help being amused by the Madmen view of Vietnam. As early as 1965 in the show, all the young guys in the agency seemed threatened by the idea of being seized by the military and sent to their death in Southeast Asia. Later, when the son of one of Don’s lovers faced certain death at the hands of his local draft board, Don became obsessed with saving his life, while the kid made plans to hightail it to Canada. And then there’s the weird scene where the goofy little kid who used to be a neighbor of the Drapers mans up and joins the Army with every intention of going to Vietnam. Sally freaks out, spewing leftist garbage like “Why, so you can kill kids your own age?” She couldn’t have been more than 13–an age when politics, if it has somehow managed to raise its ugly head, is no match for hormones. And yet we’re to believe that she has already been indoctrinated with Bill Ayers-type dogma. Here’s the reality: It actually took quite a while for the self-righteous U.S. media and the likes of Jane Fonda and John Kerry to have their way with America. In the early years of the war–I suppose the Madmen writers had no way of knowing this–people pulled for our troops, wished them the best and then went to the mall, much the way things have been going for our warriors today. The seeds of rioting in America were scattered around the globe by masters of Soviet disinformation. They even had a whole department of Dezinformatsiya. Later, they cooked up the...