It went like this. She asked for an interview, I said yes, and off we went. There are five videos, each involving a single question and answer. I had a great time. Well worth the time it took to conduct the interview. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it, too.

Part 2 is here. Question: Will you only publish in the Ebook format?

Part 3 is here.  Do you like it when readers try to meet you?

Part 4 is here. Where is Abiaka County, Florida?

Part 5 is here.   Question: What made you want to become a writer?

Cover_SmallIt’s short, only 36 pages from start to finish. It’s called, Deep in the Grove, and it’s priced at a rock-bottom $0.99. One penny short of a dollar. I’m actually kind of proud about that.

The story is based on a real event, although it departs from reality early. In real life, I was present when two skeletons were removed from a sandy gravesite, hastily dug under cover of darkness deep in a citrus grove. That experience has lingered in my mind for several years. Visually compelling, emotionally wrenching, even olfaction comes into play when you stand beside a hole in the ground where bodies have recently been decaying. It’s impossible to forget. And so I decided to write about it in a highly fictionalized manner.

To be truthful, I initially thought about writing a non-fiction magazine piece detailing the actual killings. But the more I thought about it, the less appealing the idea become. I couldn’t find a way to write the story that didn’t feel slimy, sensationalist, and ultimately disrespectful of the two murdered girls. So I dispensed with the notion. Yet the experience of standing beside that hole in the ground, watching as their bones were recovered, witnessing the professionalism and care the crime scene investigators put into their grisly work – the memory kept nagging at me and nagging at me. Clearly the memory wasn’t going to go away easily.  Read More →

Screen shot 2014-03-01 at 6.20.44 PMLiterature is a gift that can fire the imagination and propel the mind into new discoveries. Then again, literature sometimes contains filthy words that corrupt our young and foster anti-establishment thought processes.

Both the sentences above describe an actual position taken by educational leaders. Amazingly enough both of these positions once existed in the same time and in very nearly the same place. I know. I lived it.  Lucky me.

You see, I spent my elementary school years in East Hartford, Connecticut. It was then and still is a lovely little suburban town known for Pratt and Whitney airplane engines and the ability to supply a nearly endless stream of office workers to the world headquarters of a mind-numbing number of insurance companies  just across the river in Hartford.

Just as I was about to enter high school my family moved to the considerably more affluent, rural and intellectually liberal town of Glastonbury. The two towns share a border. Their inhabitants are almost indistinguishable from one another. Yet there was a stark contrast between the two that could be attributed to a young punk who was causing trouble. His name was, Holden Caulfield. That little bastard swore, and he swore a lot dammit. East Hartford wouldn’t stand for it. Glastonbury on the other hand, embraced him.  Read More →

It’s been my great pleasure to write for a number of publications that fall under the umbrella of AOPA (the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). Most recently they’ve tapped me to write periodic columns that appear beside those of other industry professionals. The series is called, Opinion Leaders. The group I’m included with is a fairly heavy hitting collection of folks. I’m proud to be in their company, frankly.

My latest contribution can be found here. It’s a brief dissertation on the topic of Light Sport Aircraft and sport pilots. Within the general aviation industry these small, light, fuel efficient aircraft are often seen as pests, or lesser machinery. Worse, their pilots are often denigrated as being less than real pilots. I have a thing or two to say about that, and so I did – right here, in the Opinion Leaders forum at AOPA. 

Isle_of_Safety_FlatMore than a few people have asked me why I chose to write a Sci Fi series. Well, the real reason I’ve been writing the Lifeboat Augusta series is included in the front matter of the books themselves. But the question intrigues me. It assumes that Sci Fi is somehow less important, or less serious than other forms of literature.

Let’s be realistic. In my case that means being fairly casual. You won’t find me sitting at my desk in a suit and tie unless it’s absolutely necessary. And it is rarely necessary, I assure you. Let’s dispense with serious terms like, “literature,” or “prose,” and even “author.” Let’s just simply take the position that I have chosen to tell a story. It might be a light-hearted romp, or it might be a dark murderous tale. Perhaps I would choose to tell a children’s story one night, and a sci-fi dramatic story the next. The point is, why would a writer intentionally limit their own imagination, or choose to self-censor the stories they choose to tell. The rationale for this escapes me. It’s inconceivable, really.

Imagine if we transferred that self imposed limitation to music or the visual arts. Would Picasso have been as exciting an artist if he stopped developing his style in his early 20s and simply repeated himself ad infinitum? I don’t think so. Would the Beatles have been more influential to the culture if they simply arrested their development in 1964, choosing to ride the wave of Beatlemania rather than innovate and experiment? No. Not hardly.  Read More →

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 7.10.37 PMSam Torode is simply amazing. His first novel, The Dirty Parts of the Bible, has outsold his wildest dreams. For a writer, that’s a big deal. As it should be.

The two of us became acquainted a couple years ago when I reached out and contacted Sam completely out of the blue. Thankfully, rather than calling the police to insist on a restraining order, Sam returned the favor, opening a line of communication that I have come to sincerely appreciate. In this discussion he’s unguarded  about his writing process, admits to an occasional bout with writer’s block, and expresses real surprise at the popularity of his debut novel. This episode of the podcast shows real insight into a true artist.

I’ve come to think a lot of Sam Torode and his work. If you haven’t read, The Dirty Parts of the Bible yet, please do. And click the link that will take you to a truly engaging conversation with a thoughtful, talented man. By the time the closing music plays, I think you’ll be glad you did.

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SmallCover_JPGHow would you like to be honored, celebrated, immortalized even – with your name in a book? Pretty cool, huh? Well, hang on tight, Skippy. This post just might hold the secret to your big chance to see your name in print.

Traditionally, there are three ways to get your name in a book. They are, as follows.

1) Write a book. This is by far the slowest, most work-intensive, and frustrating way to get your name into a book. Plus, it requires you to write a lot. That alone has caused many a successful person to terminate their own existence rather than face the pencil, the pen, the typewriter, or the keyboard one more time. Slow and risky, but it’s a viable method. And so we move on to option… Read More →

Isle_of_Safety_FlatIt’s titled, Isle of Safety. This third novella of the Lifeboat Augusta series advances the story of Randy Tagget, Keisha Miller, and the fewer than two thousand survivors of a global catastrophe. An extinction level event. With the earth horribly damaged the survivors preemptively relocated to earth orbit. The only safe zone that was close enough to offer the gift of survival, even if that gift comes with the substantial strings of considerable permanent risk.

First came, To the Lifeboats. That was followed by, Just About Armageddon. Isle of Safety continues to tale, to be followed by, Binary Choices, and conclude with, Survival of the Fittest. In all they complete the story. It’s the Lifeboat Augusta series. I hope you enjoy it.

Isle of Safety – Buy Now!

 

Fireball - Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3Robert Matzen’s latest book, Fireball – Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3, is a terrific read. Matzen details the life, times, and final days of a Hollywood icon. Carole Lombard wasn’t an “A” List star, but she was well known for her screwball comedies as well as for being the wife of the brightest star in Hollywood’s firmament, Clark Gable.

Sent on a War Bond tour within weeks of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lombard embraced the role. She was under strict orders not to fly, and promised she wouldn’t. Yet the outcome of her final trip assures us she did indeed climb aboard a TWA DC-3 and depart the Las Vegas desert for Los Angeles where she hoped to be reunited with her husband. She didn’t get there. Instead, she and 21 others met their end on the face of Potosi Mountain, an 8,500 foot peak that’s  only thirty miles from downtown Las Vegas. It’s clearly visible from the city.

Thanks to Robert for taking the time to talk with me and giving me permission to share that conversation with you. He’s a talented writer, a generous interview subject, and a truly interesting man.

Fireball – Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3, is published by GoodKnight Books. It’s available in brick and mortar bookstores and through Amazon.

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Podcast ArtThis episode kicks off the, Have I Got a Story for You, podcast.

Because writer’s like to talk, and especially like to talk to other writers, this podcast is dedicated to casual conversation between writers from diverse backgrounds who all have on thing in common – I like them. That’s pretty much the whole vetting process right there in a nutshell.

The guest for this episode is my good friend Kevin Garrison. With the ill-named polar vortex bearing down on his Kentucky horse ranch, Kevin is curled up inside with plenty of blankets, lots of hot cocoa, and a cell phone connection that’s suffering from the frigid temperatures as much as he is. Still, he’s as entertaining as ever, even

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 10.34.53 PM telling the story behind how his book, Clear Left – I’ll have the Chicken, came to carry that particular title – and why it’s not wrong, even if you heard the joke told differently by somebody else.

The episode opens and closes with a jaunty little ditty called, Intoxicated Rat by the Dixon Brothers (Dorsey and Howard). Recorded in the 1930s, the brothers have a great story to tell, which makes their 80 year old recording the perfect intro and outro for this inaugural episode of, Have I Got a Story for You!

Enjoy!

 

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