Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I don't know

Hello, everyone. I had another weird dream that I will share with you. I know, but it makes me feel better. I was walking across a large grassy area when my father, who passed away last year, came running up to me, holding his hand to his face. He told me he had a tooth ache, and asked me if I would mind taking him to the dentist. The fact that my dad had false teeth for the last few years of his life didn’t seem to enter into the equation. I then realized that I was also supposed to pick my mother up from work. (She hasn’t worked in years, and she and my father were divorced when I was young. I told my dad that there was a dentist just down the street – there were no streets when the dream started, I was in a grassy area, like a woods. – and that he could actually see it from here if he would turn around. He seemed happy with this and started toward the dentist. I then found my car and began the trip to pick up my mother, but I was worried that my dad would not find the dentist, and I felt guilty about leaving him. I woke up sweating.

The Coweta American, the closest local newspaper even ran an article advertising the event. Sounds great, right? It was, but… I had to acquire a shelter, one of those easy pop-up tent thing-a-ma-gigs that the box says one person can erect, but in reality takes 5 strong men and 14 boy scouts to manage. But it was fun. I sat there for 12 hours both days in temperatures that hovered around 125 degrees inside the protected area of the tent. To top that, I used one of those folding canvass chairs which left me about eye-level with the folding table I had for a desk. Have you ever tried to sell a book looking like a sweating pygmy with a bad attitude? Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. But, hey, I ended up selling 14 books and making a lot of new friends. Many of the other booth attendants stopped by and chatted with me, giving me tips on how not to set up one of those easy pop-up tent thing-a-ma-gigs, and maybe using a taller chair. It was like being a circus carnie for the day.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Free Twists

I give away one free autographed copy of Twisted Perception, my mystery novel, each quarter. Be sure to go to my website at and sign up. I think I saw a meteorite last night. I was driving to the post office and through the windshield of my car I saw something, which to me appeared about the size of a basketball, falling from the sky. It was greenish in color and irregular in shape.

Hello everyone. Well some of the weird luck I was having spilled over into this quarter. But it soon got better… much better. Anyway, such zany goings on deserve to be shared. On July the 15 and 16, I was invited to participate, by way of manning a booth featuring me and my book, in the Porter Peach Festival. This all came about in a rather interesting manner. Kenny Elliot, the hero of Twisted Perception, grew up in Porter, and the two original murders in the book took place there. I wasn’t sure how the town of Porter was going to take this. I thought about using a fictional small town, but in the end opted for Porter due to its logistics to Tulsa, and its small-town Oklahoma charm, and I decided to use the real name for, well realism. Anyway, I knew sooner or later someone living in Porter was going to run across the book, so I decided not to leave it to chance and sent a copy of the novel to Porter’s City Hall, and another to the local Lions Club. That should do it. And it did. As it turned out, I got a call from Roy Essary, president of the Lions Club in Porter and a very nice gentleman. He informed me that my copies had circulated around the elite of Porter, that being the mayor, the chief of police, all their wives and several police officers, and that they all loved the book and wanted me to come down to the Peach Festival in July.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Twisted Dreams

My dreams are always a little unusual, but I had one last night that I just have to share. Perhaps someone reading this blog might know something about dreams and interpret it for me. It goes like this:

I’m on this train, or trolley thing and I’m sitting in an old leather seat looking out a large rectangular window. A lady is coming up the isle collecting the fare for the ride, and I begin to get nervous. I don’t have much money with me and I’m not sure I can cover the cost. On top of that, I have no idea how I got on the train, or where I’m going. When the lady gets to me, I as her how much and she says, “That’ll be ninety-three cents.”
I think that is a very cheap fare, and I just happen to have a pocket full of change. However, each time I pull out a handful the coins are bent. She explains to me that she cannot accept bent coins and walks on saying that she will be back. In the meantime, someone delivers a lunch to me, a lunch provided by the train. I begin eating but the lady comes back for the fare. I again reach into my pocket, but his time I pull out a handful of beans which I spread across the lunch tray that folds down from the seat in front of me. The lady smiles and says that will be just fine. She then slices the beans in half. The inside of the beans looks unusual and I ask her what it is. “It’s fish,” she replies. With that I get up and go to the restroom to wash my hands because they are now covered with potato salad from my lunch. As I wash my hands, the alarm goes off and I wake up.

Back to the story:

June 24th found me at Springfield Missouri where I attended another delightful conference known as The Poison Tea Party. Did I mention I was driving a rental car because someone had rear-ended my three-week old Neon? I loved the tea party. Sleuth’s Ink, a Springfield Missouri writers’ group, hosted the party, doing a great job. The food was good, and the fellowship endearing. The hotel left a little to be desired. It smelled like it had seen better days, though it appeared clean, and a hoard of little league baseball players complete with coaches and parents invaded my floor.
One more thing and I’ll end this torture. Have you ever been to a movie or some other place where quiet is desired only to have someone’s cell phone ring, or whatever it is they do, and disturb things? Well, now I know what it feels like to be that person. During the highlight of the conference, a program given by Doctor Paul Spense, the Greene County Medical Examiner, my wife calls me. I received a lot of dirty looks, and one attendee even shouted, “Oh, turn it off!”
I quickly left the room, listening to the voice of my wife as she told me I had forgotten my suitcase. It was still lying on the bed in Oklahoma. I had a great time.
I want to thank everyone for signing up for this newsletter. Twisted Perception will be officially released on August 1, 2005.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I Guess So

I walked out of the building where I work today and saw something special: A man and a woman, both over weight and dressed as if they didn't have a lot of money. There's a diabetes clinic upstairs, and I assumed that is where they'd been. As they walked outside and into the parking lot their arms touched then their hands found each others and they walked away hand in hand.

Driving to work this morning, I saw a car, a faded red Chrysler and I noticed that one of the passengers, a boy about 10 years old, was figting something like a curtain hanging from the interior. I realized it was the headliner that had come partly undone. A bumper sticker on the car read: If you're not appalled, you havn't been paying attention. I was appalled, though not at what the sticker was meant to refer to; some political thing.

Back to my story:

On the way home, the nice lady and I were once again talking while she was driving. At one point, she looked in the rearview mirror and said, “oh my,” before pulling over to the side of the road to let the police car go by. It would have been good had he done this, but he didn’t. Instead he came to the window and asked to see the nice lady’s driver’s license, insurance, and registration papers. Luckily she produced the first two, but not the last. The van’s lack of a real license plate, with a paper one being taped to the back window, compounded the issue. I tried to explain that, in Oklahoma, it isn’t a requirement to carry registration papers, and that a paper tag is what happens when one buys a new car there. Then the officer asked who we were and what we were doing. He stated that he’d been following us for three miles, trying to get our attention. Apparently, engaged in our conversation, not only had we been exceeding the speed limit, we didn’t hear the siren and did not see the flashing lights of the police car on our tail.
The police officer talked on his radio for a moment then said, “I had several police cars ready to intercept you, had you not stopped when you did.”
They’d even placed nail strips on the road to stop us in case we busted through the roadblock. So for a few minutes, I was a wanted fugitive on the run from the law. Thankfully we were able to clear it all up, save for a speeding ticket.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Interesting Stuff

Just to catch up:

Upon finding out that I’d written a novel, one of my friends in the office where I work my daytime job once commented, “I don’t know how you do it. I have trouble knowing what to write on birthday cards when they come around.”
I just sort of smiled and nodded. The truth is: I’ve always had the same problem. Without a plot, a character, and a setting, I’m lost.
For lack of a better idea, we’ll just launch into life on the road so far. With the book not being officially released until August, I’ve been hitting various writing conferences across the region, that being the Mid-West. The tour began April 29 in Oklahoma City with the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Conference, more commonly known as OWFI around these parts. My wonderful wife, Kathi, joined me for that event, and we met up with some writer friends, Charles Sasser and his delightful son, Michael. Together we enjoyed good restaurants and lively conversation, as well as taking in the conference. Nothing crazy comes to mind, so I guess it was a good trip.
After that on May 26, came Mayhem in the Midlands, a well organized, beneficial, and entertaining conference sponsored by the Omaha Public Library Foundation. Held in downtown Omaha with plenty of interesting sites to see, the conference energized my spirits, and left with me with a feeling of having experienced something worthwhile. However, just prior to and just after this event is where all the fun began.

Now back to the story:

When I got to her house, my fellow writer showed me the minivan she’d just purchased for the trip, a good, though slightly used Ford. She had a lot of luggage, so we took the van and left my brand new Neon in her driveway. Since I was sworn to secrecy, I cannot divulge the name of my cohort, so we’ll call her, the nice lady. On the way up, we began to talk, and the nice lady told me something I feel compelled to share. It went like this: “My husband is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Yeah, it’s sad. But you know sometimes he says to me, ‘Everything will be all right when my wife gets here.’” She paused then continued, “That would make most people sad, but not me because I know he’s remembering that skinny twenty-two year old he married, and not the old hag I see in the mirror each morning. And it’s kind of nice that he lives there in that special place we made together years ago.”That brought tears to my eyes. If you’re out there reading this, nice lady, I saw your grandson in that movie. He’s quite the cyclist.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Twisted Subjects

Hello, bloggers. Look, mom, I'm blogging.
Since I don't know what I'm doing, I'll just post some of my old newsletter content.

Several months ago, I was getting ready to go to a writers' conference when my life began to go haywire and it went something like this: My old stockade fence that I'd been patching up for two years decided it'd had enough and simply fell completely down, which, in retrospect was probably for the best (tell that to my pocket book) since some of the boards had already given up the ghost. In short the place was beginning to look like bad rental property in a good neighborhood. The guy the fence company sent out to estimate the damage had dollar signs in his eyes. I asked him where he got contact lenses like that, imprinted with such a monetary symbol, but he only laughed and scribbled harder on his note pad.

Not to be outdone, my old car, which held the record for high mileage, though I never bothered reporting it to the Guinness Book, invented a new, mechanically produced noise accompanied by a strange vibration which I'm sure would have induced weight loss, had I been able to endure it. It was time to buy a new one. Locating a salesman, who assured me I was getting the best deal turned out to be relatively easy, though, figuring I could get more for the old car by selling it myself, I refused the salesman's offer for a trade-in and parked the old buggy on the street. That turned out to be a mistake. The next day, while I was at work, someone smashed into the old relic, knocking off the side mirror and leaving a huge dent in the driver's side door. Whoever perpetuated the deed didn't stick around, a hit and run so to speak, and of course no one saw or heard anything.

I parked the now beat-beyond-recognition old Geo in the driveway and headed for Stillwater, OK, where I was to meet a fellow writer who would share the ride to Omaha.

More to come.

I'll be in the Azalea Festival Parade in Muskogee, Oklahom this weekend, April 8, and later I'll be signing books at the Arts and Crafts Show in the Muskogee Civic Center.