Tuesday, October 28, 2014

There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world right now.

Let’s talk about something else.

As I bang away at the keyboard of my computer at home, I think back to a few hours earlier when I was banging away at the keyboard of my computer at work. Consideration of the similar actions jolts me back even further, months earlier actually, to May 2014 when I attended the OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.) annual conference.

While maneuvering the crowded hallways of the Embassy Suites, during the conference, I chanced upon Charlotte Smith, a friend and fellow writer. I can’t remember what I said to her, but her reply had stuck with me. She’d said, “Making a living often gets in the way of living.”

Returning to the present, I rub my chin and stare into open space, wondering about Charlotte’s cryptic phrase. I can’t decide where to go with it, but since OWFI is now in the air I continue to follow that.

Just before OWFI, I’d acquired the BMW that most of you have heard about, and as thoughts of the drive from Tulsa to Oklahoma City run through my head a smile turns the corners of my mouth. The Turner Turnpike is no Autobahn, but reality does little to curb my imagination.  My father had always complained that I lived in my own little world. I thank God that I do.

Drifting off again to OWFI, I remember my room at the Embassy Suites. The bathroom had sported fixtures that were several inches lower than I’m used to. I felt a bit like Gulliver. To put it subtly, using the facilities reminded me, in no pleasant fashion, of the squatting position assumed prior to jumping over some unfortunate kid in a game of leapfrog; taking a shower caused me to engage in a rather clumsy version of the Limbo; and brushing my teeth proved a bit of a challenge as my reflection in the mirror somewhat resembled a giant with the rabies. But it’d been a small price to pay. During the conference, Dan Case, the chief cook and bottle washer of AWOC Books, my publisher, had volunteered to act as shepherd for David Morrell, one of the conference speakers. I took the opportunity to tag along as Dan carried out his shepherd-like duties, which put me in a position to get to know David Morrell, who is best known for his debut novel, First Blood, which introduced the character Rambo. David is a great writer and a wonderful person.

During the final hours of the conference, while I was in the atrium of the hotel talking to a group of writers, Mr. Morrell showed up, dragging a suitcase and looking mildly distressed. He couldn’t locate his shepherd who was to take him to the airport.

I told him not to worry, that I would try to locate Dan, and if I could not, I would get him to the airport myself.

It took me a few minutes, but I finally found Dan in a conference room, taking pitches from potential clients. Even though I seldom wore a watch, I tapped my left wrist and Dan immediately understood what I was telling him. We rushed into the atrium, collected Mr. Morrell, and strolled out of the hotel. I don’t remember the reason, but Dan asked if we could take my car. I agreed of course. However, as fate would have it, another small problem arose: Mr. Morrell couldn’t get the handle of his pull-a-long suitcase to collapse. It wouldn’t be a problem getting the bag into the car, but the situation might entangle the boarding of the aircraft.

It must have been a sight, three grown men kneeling over a suitcase in a parking lot. Several passersby, perhaps thinking we were attending to a fallen comrade, asked if we needed assistance, though the lot of them quickly backed away upon determining our attention being set upon a piece of insubordinate luggage.

How hard could it be, you might ask?

As time became more of an issue, I suggested we employ brute-force and simply rip the insolent handle from the beast. The suggestion was not well received.

Finally Dan whipped out his cell phone. It seems his son lives in Oklahoma City and had some sort of shop nearby. With the connection made, we grab the luggage and scramble into the car.

Minutes later, we turn onto a barely-known backstreet of Oklahoma City where we find an industrial-looking building with several large overhead doors along the side. As we pull into the lot, we notice that one of the garage doors is open.

How much valuable time did getting the motley, crew to this point cost? Probably too much. Seeing a large man in overalls take a reciprocating saw to the defenseless luggage…Priceless.

We gave our thanks and said our goodbyes then gathered the pieces of luggage. Our lack of time had now become critical. Someone was giving me directions to the airport. Someone else asked, “How fast can this thing go?”

Never ask a BMW owner that question.

Let’s just say we made it to the airport on time. I think Dan and I made an impression on Mr. Morrell. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Remembering the Past

Bob’s 3rd Quarter Newsletter

Remembering the past

It could be said that life is comprised of a string of memories of what had come before interspersed with fantasies, or worries about what might come next.

For whatever reason, living in the present seems to take a backseat. Perhaps this theory is behind the popularity of simple past tense with a third person narrator as a means of telling the story within the world of fiction.

Don’t take me too seriously. I’m making this up as I go.

During the 4th of July weekend of 2014, my mom, who now resides in Kansas, came to spend some time with us. She is such a blessing, and I thank God daily for her. An extended period of coping with her, though, can prove quite adventurous. Kathi, my sweet wife, and I have found that keeping mom occupied acts to lessen the opportunity for unintended mischief. Thankfully, she loves to cook, which keeps her busy for a while. She’s very efficient at it, turning out wonderful meals in what seems a miraculous amount of time. In an effort to maintain our sanity, Kathi and I have become somewhat adept at keeping mom busy In between these Julia-Child-meets-Doctor-Who episodes.

Recently, upon interlude, Kathi suggested we drive to Sand Springs to revisit some of the sites in the small town where mom and I had lived. We drove by the schools I’d attended and the house where I grew up. I’m always amazed at how small and close together everything looks compared to my childhood memories. However, the trip proved rewarding in ways I had not anticipated. Instead of reminiscing about my early childhood, I began to relive the time when my romance with Kathi was in its infancy. On the way back to Tulsa, we took the old route, driving along Charles Page Boulevard. Among the memories we saw along the way, was an old hamburger stand where Kathi and I would meet when we were dating. The building has long since been abandoned but it’s still there. It had been called Whiz Burger. Yeah, I know. We joked about the name back then as well. But the memories are golden. During a brief period, when I was without wheels, we would meet there, with Kathi walking from Tulsa and me from Sand Springs. The hike was probably five to six miles, but I would have done it even if it’d been fifty. I was madly in love with her.

Shortly thereafter, circumstances surrounding my home life caused me to determine it best if I left it behind. I asked Kathi to go with me and together, with nothing more than the clothes we were wearing, a few dollars, and an old Ford Falcon, we made our way to Texas. On August 25, 1969, we were married.

Forty-five years, two children, and four grandchildren later, I’m still madly in love with Kathi. We survived the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin… Well, you get the idea. We’ve been through a lot together. My life with her has been good. I could ask for nothing more, except for another forty-five.

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them. Thanks.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baton Blog Hop

Writers blog hop, or something like that.
You can blame Jackie King, author of The Corpse who Walked in the Door.

I’ve been tagged so here goes:

What am I working on?

I’m often criticized over the length of time it takes me to complete a novel. I’m certainly not the only writer with a full-time day job – make that a stressful and demanding day job – but when you throw a rather complicated personal life into the mix… Well you get the idea.
I’ve just begun writing the fourth novel – the title of which I’m withholding for now – in the Detective Elliot series. I haven’t been idle. I’ve been busy attempting to organize the dynamic thoughts that run through my head into a workable outline, an arduous task to say the least. Two schools of thought exist on whether or not one should outline their work: Those who claim there is no other way to write properly, and those who shrug and just sit down and let the words flow. I’ve done it both ways. With the first Elliot novel, Twisted Perception, I composed the words as they came to me, working with no outline. With Beneath a Buried House, the second, and Footprints of a Dancer, the third, I created scenes then strung them together. And now, with the fourth Elliot novel boiling inside me, I actually created an outline of scenes along with a sort of what-happened-when-and-to-who roadmap. I’m still experimenting. Who knows, perhaps I’ve stumbled on to what works for me. In my opinion, that’s what matters in the end. Find what works for you and go for it.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

That’s easy: Just pick up one of my novels and read it. I’m just kidding, sort of. Actually – even though I’ve heard this should not be the case – my books are difficult to pin down to a particular genre. They are mysteries with a hero who works as a police detective, comes across as hardboiled until you get to know him, has an uncanny intuition, and always works his cases, which border on the paranormal, alone.

Why do I write what I do? 

I just sort of stumbled into it. I fell in love with reading with my first exposure, but I believe the writing bug bit me after my sister gave me a copy of A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’engle. After that, nothing would satisfy me unless it dealt with the unusual. However, I didn’t actually put words on paper until a few years later. With a ten-minute free-time at the end of junior high typing class, which was a required subject, I began writing short stories that featured a bungling super hero. From there, my work morphed into a sort of Twilight Zone type thing. When I got married, my writing took a long hiatus, but when it re-bloomed a few years back, I found myself in a rather conservative writers critique group. The members of that group encouraged me to write a novel, and to choose a more serious genre. I chose Mystery and created Detective Elliot.  

How does my writing process work?

That’s a tough one, but the characters and ideas just sort of rattle around in my subconscious until they break through to the surface. Once I have a storyline and some characters, I act out, in my mind, the characters roles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reunited and it Feels So Good

If an inanimate object brought one out of a slump, considering one’s love for said object did not become obsessive, it would be a good thing, right?

I’ve always been a gearhead, a real car enthusiast. At the age of seven, I was one of those kids that attached baseball cards to the spokes of his bicycle, trying to replicate the sound of a motorized vehicle. By the age of twelve, I had a closet full of automobile magazines and a drawer full of accessories to use on my first car, which turned out to be a 1950 model Plymouth. I was fond of the Plymouth of course. However, I continued to save any money I could get from odd jobs until I had enough to get the car I’d had my eye on for some time: A 1957 Chevy. I quickly became the terror of Sand Springs, my hometown, the 283 C.I. power plant of the Chevy igniting my already fervent passion for the hobby, driving that is.

Looking back, my continuing quest for automotive power took a somewhat lengthy hiatus with the purchase and subsequent sale of a 1964 GTO. There were a lot of cars in between. I won’t go into it any deeper than passing on that my wife once told me that I really should contact the Guinness Book of World Records to claim the automobile- ownership title. I seriously considered it. Back, however, to my hiatus. You see, a few months before the GTO I’d become a husband and not long after that a father as well, the sequence of events leading to several dynasties of puttering around in economical, more family oriented sedans. I now shudder at the thought, wondering how I ever made it through such a mired-in-molasses automotive existence.

A series of recent events led to a true renaissance of spirit. As it turned out, my automotive passion had not died but had lain dormant for years only to be reawakened by another set of initials: BMW. Call the series an initialism, an acronym, a Beemer, a Bimmer; break it out into Bavarian Motor Works, or Bayerische Motoren Werke, it matters not.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I put 227,000 miles on my latest economic puttering mobile before deciding it was time for an update. I didn’t set out to get a BMW, though I did mention to my wife, Kathi, that it would be nice to acquire something a little sportier for a change. I toyed with the idea of a Corvette, and actually drove a Porsche Boxster and a few Mustangs before Kathi reminded me that, with our son, David, being with us, having a four-door was more practical. I truly thought my perusal into piston powered passion had been empirically quashed. Sadly I again began to search for something sensible. As fate would have it, I was checking the internet for possibilities of transportation when I ran across an ad for a BMW at a lot in Broken Arrow. It was just down the street. I informed Kathi that I’d found a possibility and asked if she’d like to join me for a test drive.

A few minutes later, we climbed into the BMW then pulled out of the lot and onto the street. It didn’t take long before I had to fight to keep a silly grin from spreading across my face. The car handled like a sports car, and purring beneath the hood of this conservative-looking ride was a true power-plant. I kept glancing at Kathi to see if she’d caught on yet. I felt like a kid holding a cookie jar effectively disguised as a can of vegetable cocktail. I leaned closer to tell her that I thought this might be a possibility, but it came out as, “I gotta have one of these.”

I didn’t buy the car we test drove. The interior was pretty trashed out. But it was enough to let me know what to set my sights on. A few weeks later, I found a fairly nice BMW in my price range located in Oklahoma City. Every time I fire this thing up and put it through its gears, I still can’t believe it. For all of you responsible conservatives out there, nurturing a latent need-for-speed, there’s no need to sell the farm and shoehorn yourself into a Ferrari. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But don’t let the four doors fool you. This thing is the real deal.

Kathi has caught on by now and she is cautiously okay with it. She even commented that she likes my recent change in attitude. It seems I’m behaving a bit younger now.

Some might shake their head, thinking this is some kind of midlife thing, but those of you who know me well know that it isn’t. God does indeed work in mysterious ways, and I thank Him daily for instilling in me an insatiable curiosity, an adventurous spirit, and an unquenchable zeal for life.

In the immortal words of The Big Bopper, “Ah baby that’s a what I like.”

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them. Thanks.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Contest -- Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
I’ve been thinking about changing the cover of Footprints of a Dancer and replacing it with one, which would more closely reflect the storyline. Don’t get me wrong. I love the artwork. However, I’ve been told by more than one reader that the cover might give potential readers the wrong impression of what to expect from the book.

Back in the day – a mere 6 years ago actually – when physical books were the reality of publishing, once a book was out it was out, and making changes was not easy. But now that the world of publishing – thanks to Amazon Kindle – has gone mostly digital books and their design and content are easily changed.

I want to take this opportunity to ask my readers for their input. If you have read Footprints of a Dancer, please let me know what you think. Do you like the cover? Do you think it is reflective of the storyline? If you were to change it, in what ways would you do so?
You are invited to respond by commenting on this post, emailing me at bob@bobavey.com or by visiting my website http://www.bobavey.com and leaving a comment on the Blog Post that matches this post.

I’m currently working on the fourth Detective Elliot novel, and if someone lends me a good idea to solve my quandary above I would, if they want me to do so, include them as a character in the future book and send them a free copy.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.