Friday, June 21, 2013


I remember summer as a child. How the sun felt against my small bare body as I jumped into the small pool near my house and how the cold water, coming from artesian well, was always ice cold. Chasing fireflies across fields on the hill above my house. How the hot, humid days lasted a year and a half. How the stars burned in a black sky. Running across the alfalfa with my arms outstretched like I was flying.

I remember sneaking out of the house at midnight just to wander the pastures under the  moon. I was never afraid of the dark. I thought I was the most dangerous thing out in the night.

But when I got older, I learned some snakes hunted at night. I learned someone shot a bobcat near my house. I learned bears still roamed the hills. There were rabid skunks and drunken hunters who spotlighted deer and could easily mistake a child for an animal.

The night stopped being my friend. As I grew older and moved into town, it became even threatening. Burglars and drug dealers, gangs and drunk drivers. Like everyone else, I mostly huddle in my house at night, lock my doors, and sleep with a loaded .357 near.

Still, sometimes I find myself wandering up the street in my neighborhood after dark. I carry a flashlight and a stout cane, but if I’m lucky, for a few minutes, when the wind rises and the moon is right, it feels like it did when I was child, when summer lasted forever and the night welcomed me under the million and one far away suns.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Wow. I don't understand people at all sometimes. I do a fair amount promotion for my books and the books published by my little publishing company. It takes up a lot of my time. Yet I'm often approached by people who want me to promote their product for free.

You know what?

Their "good feelings" toward me won't buy a thing at WalMart or put gas in my car. I don't understand why they can't understand this.

I guess they choose not to.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A bit of panic

It's strange. When you start a book, it seems impossible that you're going to fill the pages. But the further you get into the story, the more it seems that you won't have enough pages to tell the story.

Ordinarily the Measurements of Murder Mystery novels come in about 200 published pages. Murder by the Mile may be longer. There's still a lot of story to edit and re-write and put in place.

I feel a bit of panic...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A problem with research

A few weeks back, I was hard at work on Murder by the Mile when a friend dropped by for a visit. While he was here, he kept staring at my kitchen table where I had piled source material and research. I figured he was interested in the book. We were talking about other things, though, and I never explained about the papers and books.

After he left, I went into the kitchen and realised what he was staring at: an open wedding album displaying the wedding announcements of several different couples. I needed an example to write one for the book; I wasn't stalking newlywed brides.

I promise!

Thursday, June 06, 2013


Driving around the other day in heavy traffic, I thought about how intricate the road system is and how it grew incrementally. No piece of the system is particularly difficult to understand -- drive on the right side of the road, stop at stop signs, signal when you turn, faster vehicles to the left lane in a four lane, yield to the vehicle on the right at a four way stop if you both reach it at the same time, and so on -- but when you put all the pieces together, the total effect is mind-bending.

Of course, systems fail. Extremely heavy traffic and rule-breaker drivers can cripple a system, but it will recover eventually. Pieces can falter, but the system continues.

If you were an alien fresh to Earth, you would look at our highway system and think a genius had put it together, but it was only time and codified convention. Life is like that; it grows and becomes more complex. The trick is to keep track of the parts that matter, the ones that you can control. The system is too big for overall control, but the bits and pieces are definitely within our grasp.