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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bobby's Beatitudes

Bobby's Beatitudes

Blessed are those who live in hovels, for God will give them palaces in heaven.
God weeps when anyone kills in his name; kill not.
God hates hate; hate not.
God loves love; love more.
You need not trust in God; you need hope that God will trust in you.
You are your own master. The way is within you.
Giving is the way. Taking is not the way.
Follow the way and it will lead you to God. Jesus is the way.
The way is in each of you. You are your own master and savior.
Woe to the Inquisitors, for Jesus will inquire unto them!
Blessed are the rabble, for they shall know God.

Monday, July 14, 2014

When You Get Sleepy You Do Odd Things

Why? I don't know why. Maybe because I'm feeling sleepy. But I became curious about the use of the word "sleep" in my various works of fiction and came up with these:

From "It Was Me (I)"
Sleep came; the damn nightmare did, too.

From "The 41st Sermon"
Before dawn, Father Talley turned on the table light to look at Molly. Her face was innocent in sleep. She lay on her back. Slowly, he pulled the sheet off her body.

From "Crazy About You"
We men drown in the smell of single woman. They don’t seem to realize we want to get past the smell of their perfume and know the real smell of themselves. (Okay, "sleep" comes later in this paragraph.)

From "Blow Up the Roses"
When he went back to sleep that night, the old nightmare came to Frank Califano, the nightmare the therapist couldn't figure out, the one he hadn't had in several years, the one in which he was standing in a rose garden, only it was blowing up all around him.

From "By Pain Possessed"
He was sure he wasn't dreaming because his worst nightmares were of being strapped in a chair and tortured with ice picks poking into his body. Those nightmares brought him screaming from his sleep, his body soaked in sweat. He wasn't sweating, so he wasn't dreaming.

From "Rabbletown"
“Go to sleep you God-damned shits or I’ll beat your heads in!” That quieted them, but he saw the hatred in Lila’s eyes. The way she looked at him reminded him of the eyes of the feral cats that roamed the work site. A mason would sometimes lob a stone down at them from those many stories above and occasionally squash one. It made the survivor cats look up from time to time with hatred in their eyes at those who let such things fall upon them.

From "Heart Chants"
We didn't get that second scotch and later I found out what it was like to go to sleep with the smell of her hair making its way into my heart.

From "One More Victim"
Sleep, I later learned, can be a reaction to trauma. I never told Dad the tornado was my first memory because it seemed wrong that I could remember the storm that killed Mother, but I had no memory of her.

From "The Saltness of Time"
It turned out that Stephie and I shared a bed that night, as did Ted and Kristin. I don't know about Ted and Kristin, but Stephie and I didn't make love. Yes we did. I held her in my arms as she went to sleep and, against my body, felt the slowing rhythm of her heart, and counted, individually, each. precious. beat.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

“Meet My Character” Blog Tour Stop

I selected a character from "Heart Chants" because this half-white, half-Navajo character really fascinated me. Heart Chants is second in my Phillip McGuire mystery/suspense series. The first book "Tortured Truths" placed burnt-out journalist into Lawrence owning and running a bar where adventures come his way. For the second book I knew that two girls were missing from the Haskell Indian University in Lawrence. That meant researching the school where I learned the most represented nation was the Navajo. That meant researching the Navajo. Wow, what I encountered. A great people, a great history, a fascinating creation story.

1. What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional or historical?

We never know his "legal" name. He is the son of a Navajo medicine man and a white missionary. But the man he thought was his Navajo father tells him his real name is "Ko-Yo-Teh"

2. When and where is the story set?

Koyoteh lives on the Ramah Navajo reservation near Grants, NM. Life will take him to Lawrence, KS and Haskell University

3. What should we know about him?

He is a witch. The art of witchcraft was given to the Navajo along with other gifts from the Holy People when the Dinè (the Navajo name for themselves) were created. Who he thought was his father was a witch and his father was a witch and his father was a witch.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Koyoteh is attempting to complete the mission his Navajo father revealed to him: create the largest sand painting that has ever been created, reopen the gates to the Holy People and receive new gifts so the Navajo can finally rid themselves of the White Man. But this will require awful acts to obtain the materials necessary to create that sand painting.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

To open the gates to the Holy People and trick them into giving him new gifts.

6. Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?

The title is "Heart Chants" and it has been published by the small press Curiosity Quills.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

It's available right now:

I'd like to add that if you are interested in the Navajo people, this is the book for you. I believe it contains the best, most complete retelling of their amazing creation story. It has been favorably compared to Tony Hillerman's works and some reviewers have found it better.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Milestone of Sorts for CRAZY ABOUT YOU

I don't know if this is really a milestone, but it feels like one for me. I published Crazy About You in 2011 and it just passed its 600th download either as a digital or print-on-demand sale. I once offered it free and had 352 downloads. I failed to keep an accurate count of how many paperback copies I've sold myself. I've ordered 111 copies and have ten on hand. Have given away some copies but imagine I've sold about 80.

"Crazy About You" is my most reviewed work with 23 Amazon reviews, 18 of them five star. On Goodreads, it has 18 ratings with a 4.5 star average and 11 text reviews.

A publisher is now considering picking up this book and others that I have self-published.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Favorite Lines from Several Works

Crazy About You

Dad had worked on his teeth and found him to be perfectly normal. “Now that he’s killed his family.” 

"Christianity used the Jewish god, a god who is everything and by being everything ended up being a big fat nothing...." 

I believe what I did was right, but why does it sit still so heavily upon my soul? 

“We’ve got to fornicate again tonight, Bob.”

“So soon?” 

I wanted to go to her, to touch her, touch her in that manner any of us will want to touch a person we are with who is near death. But that natural instinct, I have to tell you, was wiped away by a palpable fear, a fear that if I went near her at that moment, the blast from her open soul would sear my own. 

"And when did you fall in love with me?"

"I woke up with it the morning after I met you." 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beginnings I Like from Five Novels

When Michael Keene reached the interstate, a few blocks from his home, he turned left instead of right and headed south, steering his nifty little gray Honda Civic against the direction a group of geese were flying overhead. Thinking he might hear the honkers, he opened the window of the car, but they were too high, or
maybe the wind carried their calls away from his ear. Or maybe they just were traveling silently, as was he.

Later, on that chilly morning in April, when Mrs. Keene received the call from the office asking if her husband was ill, she first thought of an accident, then car trouble, then foul play, then desertion. She should have thought first of desertion because when Mr. Keene didn't show up the next day or the one after that, the police investigator put on a smile deep with practiced kindness as she mentioned the possibility that Mr. Keene had been kidnapped and said, "Ma'am, I'm sorry, I've seen this before. Were you having any marital problems?"

Children who grew up on military bases are called Army brats. Asylum brats were those few of us who grew up on the grounds of state insane asylums where our parents, who worked there, had housing provided by the state. We weren't shoved from base to base, state to state, country to country, so we couldn't claim we didn't put down roots. Instead, we were buffeted between the bizarre personalities among whom we lived, if we chose to know the lives of those mostly benign inmates–excuse me, patients–from whose lunacy our parents earned their livings

Bob Crowley, drunk and very tired, almost tripped over the broken toy truck before kicking it out of his way then trudging around the side of the house to the back of a former duplex that now housed six families of 50-some Christian souls. Work on the Great Christian State of Kansas Cathedral went on from dawn to dusk, almost a 14-hour, hot, summer day. After Bob had made the long climb back to the ground, he stopped at one of the small booze-holes at the edge of Rabbletown to drink its oily-smelling, stomach-wrenching, blessedly mind-numbing alcohol before going home.

Now, in the doorway to his basement apartment, he burped and smelled the sour acid of his empty stomach. Pulling the burlap sack of tools off his shoulder and dropping it to the floor when he entered, the noise of his own household assaulted him. The twins came, screaming their welcome, and he picked the bag of tools back up, swung, and caught one of them on the side of the head, sending him sprawling sideways and setting up a wail of tears and pain that caused his wife to yell, “Stop beatin’ the kids, will ya?”

“Well keep the little retards away from me.”

At seven-thirty on a fresh, cool Monday morning in the forty-fifth spring of his life, under a sky the blue of which General Motors used for its 1957 Chevrolet, the Rev. Christopher Talley looked into the trunk of his BMW, aimed his thick, index finger at the objects stored neatly away, and stuck up his thumb.

"Bang," he said, as he pointed his finger at the portable typewriter, depressed his thumb, and heard the knuckle crack. He shifted to take aim at a stack of reference books, and then in rapid order went "bang, bang, bang, bang," at the dictionary, the thesaurus, the Bible, and the Book of Common Prayer. Father Talley aimed the finger next at the large, expandable file and, with the loudest mental bang of them all, blasted that well-worn cardboard structure and all of the pieces of paper the damn thing contained.

He thought about pointing the finger at his own head, but reached down instead to caress the fly rod case, pat the tackle box, and run his hand across the stack of journals on studies into ancient Greece he had bound together with cord. He closed the trunk lid, listening to its satisfyingly solid click.

This side of the hill on Betty's land looks to the west. She built her house on the other side that looks to the east. Her windows catch the morning sun and then are shaded from the heat of the afternoon summer sun. The house is tucked real neat into the hill so that north winds in winter hit the rise of the hill, go over, never touch the house.

Would that I were so protected.

But it is late fall, late in the day and I am standing on the balcony of this tea hut I have built on the side of Betty's hill that faces the west. I get to enjoy the sight of sunset over the last of the leaves still on the trees and listen to the sounds they make as the wind rustles through. Listen to the sounds of me.

Oh, Betty, I love you so.

Why has it taken me so long to know it.

So long to say it.

I had to leave the 1960s first.

It wasn't easy.

In the box on the table inside this tea hut you don't even know exists on your own land is my deliverance from those times. God, how I hate to leave them. It was hard work.
You'll just have to read and find out how hard.

Everything is ready now for that....Everything is ready.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Signing 1-3 p.m., April 19, at Shawnee Books and Toys, Shawnee Kansas Bookstore

Mike Deathe, through happenstance, learned he's good with dogs. So good, he now makes a living as a dog trainer, or as he told me, "It's the dog's owner I really train." We met over coffee because of a mutual friend's suggestion. Mike is publishing the books he's done on dog training. I publish my fiction. As we exchanged marketing ideas, he mentioned he would be having a book signing 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 19, at the Shawnee Books and Toys store in Shawnee, Kansas.

Having non-competing products, he agreed to let me shoehorn my way into his book signing. I'll have ten books on hand: eight novels and two collections of shorter works.

Mike's works can be found here.

My stuff is here.

Shawnee Books and Toys  is located at 7311 Quivira Rd, Shawnee, KS.