Why Trump is impressed by Kim Jong-Un, and why Purina better watch their back.

Notwithstanding the U.S.A. and DPRK, aka North Korea, are hovering terrifyingly close to full-out war, because an ill-informed, childish, petulant, thin-skinned, tyrant with a bad haircut, aka (readers choice) Thing 1, Trump or Thing 2, Kim Jong Un, is engaging in nuclear saber rattling, Thing 1 repeatedly finds ways to express admiration–not that begrudgingly–for Thing 2. He calls him a “strong dude” with whom he would be “honored to meet.” For any other president, this statement would not be inexplicable because it would never happen, has never happened in the 60+ years since Kim Sung-Il, Kim Jon-Un’s grandfather, came to power. The thought of a face-to-face meeting with a DPRK leader threatening a nuclear attack on the U.S. is beyond ludicrous. It’s insane. Still, other than the fact that nothing 45 does makes any particular sense, why would he even mention sitting down with, and legitimizing, a brutal dictator and international terrorist of the first order? I believe I have pieced together the reason.

First, I believe 45 is desperately envious of Kim Jong-Un’s ability to eliminate adversaries, enemies, or even a once-favorite uncle by feeding him to the dogs. Second, 45’s bottomless contempt for the “lyin’ media,” whom he calls “an enemy of the people,” is one of his banner proclamations. Put these together and you have the reason 45 wants to meet with despicable Crazy Child, Kim Jong-Un. Donald wants Kim to tell him the secret of how he gets away with killing anyone who upsets him. When 45 figures that out, he will then feed the Lyin’ Media, starting with the Failing New York Times, to the all the dogs in America, thereby killing two birds with one stone. He gets rid of an “enemy of America,” and simultaneously solves the dog hunger problem.

The Bannon/Trump agenda has taken dead aim at the safety net that provides human beings below the poverty line with a minimal level of nutrition. This, of course, will eventually provoke an outcry among those who care about such things. but it can be offset with opulent praise from owners owners of sated dogs.

My only advice is to Purina, makers of the famous Dog Chow. Watch your back. Mr. Trump is about to put you out of business.


American Fever

Today’s American temperature is Minus 4. (Based on Trump’s favorability index today, 47% positive, 51% negative).

Vladimir Putin is a genius. Forget Ben Franklin’s skinflint adage that “A penny saved is a penny earned.” We need to follow the Putin Wealth Paradigm. Since 2000, Putin has made roughly $2.5 million dollars (or the ruble equivalent) in salary yet today he is the richest man on earth with a personal wealth of roughly $85 billion. While Franklin’s earned to savings ratio is 1-1, Putin’s is “A ruble saved is 34,000 rubles earned.” Make this genius Secretary of the Treasury. Forget Trump University. I’m going to sign up for Putin University.

When the clan assembles

My clan assembles a few times a year in different places, and I always try to make Bouchercon and maybe Left Coast Crime. At some point, either before or during the conference, I always wonder why I’m there, although this time I wondered if would ever get there. My plane sat in Denver for three hours, but it was not so bad because when I finally got in. S.J. Rozan was there waiting.

By the end, I always know why I’m there. Old friends, new friends, new books to read by old friends, or new ones like Julia Dahl and Karin Salvalaggio.

This is Karin with BONE DUST WHITE. It is a ridiculously amazing first novel. Or second or fifth or tenth.

Bone Dust White Karin.

Bone Dust White Karin.

Marcia Clark thought something was really funny. Or she just swallowed a stuffed jalapeño. Or both, which would really have been funny.

Long Beach had nice sunrises although it seemed to me they were in the west. I may have lost my sense of direction in the bar.

This was a really good panel. It had C.J. Box, Kate White, David Morrell and Mark Billingham. I have no idea what it was about, but it was really funny.

Hopeton Hay, KAZI, Austin, review of One Minute Gone

Nice review from Hopeton Hay, KAZI

Posted on January 8, 2014

If you think you’d like a wisecracking hero desperately trying to keep a villain from ruining his life in New York City, you should check out David Hansard’s debut novel One Minute Gone. His hero, Porter Hall, keeps his sense of humor through a series of threats to his children and his life that rival Candide. Among the elements of the novel that hooked me include a sexy reporter that’s taken a professional and personal interest in him, his antagonistic relationship with New York cops, and his adorable twins he’s raising as a single parent.


Hopeton will be interviewing me for his radio show on KAZI, Austin, this weekend. I’ll let you know when it’s going to run. It will also be available as a podcast. In addition to Amazon, Book People in Austin will soon be stocking ONE MINUTE GONE. Drop by and say hello to Scott Montgomery, manager of Mystery People, the crime fiction section on the first floor of Book People.



Every New Year starts with hope, big hope. And ends…?

Every New Year I begin with a cargo train of optimism that this one, this brand new set of days is going to be a lot better than the last one, or at least no worse. Does it ever turn out that way? Good question. The problem is finding a benchmark, a reference point, a normative baseline against which to measure the new one and the old. I don’t know how to do that. Instead, I look back and think some good things happened this year, some real good things. My first novel is out, available, and some people are reading it and apparently liking it. My life situation has changed dramatically. No complaints, not really. About some things, sure, but you always have that. And those I will work on. They are fixable. Overall, the Year Gone was good enough. You can ask for more, but you won’t often get it. And it could have been worse, much worse. I’m still here, and still hopeful. I’ll put that in the win column.

Writing in a fog; a Nice Review; Story Mill v. Scrivener v. Word: the writing tools

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but for me the writing process has always been a bit murky, like I never know exactly what I’m doing. Over the years I have learned that–at least for me–it’s never going to be crystal clear. I now accept the fog. I would like to love it, but that’s not going to happen. What I have also discovered is that within the fog, the thick soup of the mind that envelopes you when you are processing a narrative, that at any given moment certain things, maybe just one, will be clear. Go with what you can see and that will become a compass to the next clear thing. It’s a bit like a scavenger hunt.

If you think you’d like a wisecracking hero desperately trying to keep a villain from ruining his life in New York City, you should check out David Hansard’s debut novel One Minute Gone. His hero, Porter Hall, keeps his sense of humor through a series of threats to his children and his life that rival Candide. Among the elements of the novel that hooked me include a sexy reporter that’s taken a professional and personal interest in him, his antagonistic relationship with New York cops, and his adorable twins he’s raising as a single parent.


Yesterday I found this nice little review of my Porter Hall novel, ONE MINUTE GONE, posted by Hopeton Hay, who does book reviews on radio station KAZI in Austin. He’s interviewed an amazing array of authors including Walter Mosley, David Baldacci, Marcia Clark and many more. Check out Hopeton’s Facebook page. “Like it” and you will get regular updates.

Until a few years ago I wrote everything from concept notes to first draft to final draft in Microsoft Word for Mac. I had an incredibly difficult time keeping track of everything. I would lose scenes, I would get sidetracked, waste time trying to figure out where I was. Also, because if I closed and reopened the file, I would ddo countless rewrites of the first few pages, since that’s where it always opened, when I should have been adding word count. In 2008, I started using Scrivener for drafts. It was a major improvement over Word, but for me it was still not perfect. Someone suggested Story Mill. SM was, for me, and maybe it has to do with the way my particular brain works, a massive improvement over Scrivener. Except for one small thing. Story Mill would crash and I would lose all my work. I was not alone in this and there were a lot of complaints on the Story Mill site and in chat rooms. I learned after that to periodically, every day or two, to export everything to Word. I have not had that problem in several years although I am now in the habit of occasional exports to Word, as well as now back both to an external drive and the Cloud. In short, after using dedicated composition tools like Story Mill and Scrvener, I will never go back to composing in Word. I have found, however, that once a complete draft, or maybe the second revision is finished. I prefer revising in Word to either of the dedicated platforms.

Thanks to Amazon, my book is a veritable bargain right now. 99 cents for the Kindle version, or free to borrow, and only $6.70 for the trade paperback, which may allow you to get the Kindle version included for free. (I think, but I’m not sure).


Happy New Year. I am so damn glad to be out of the old one I can’t begin to tell you.

Not A Cat Person


I am not a cat person, never have been, though I know some. Partly, it’s because I’m allergic. The rest is because I’m just not. Pet orientation is like sexual orientation or food likes and dislikes. I think. I like women and I hate sweet potatoes. I’m more drawn to women who don’t try to convince me to eat sweet potatoes than those who do. It’s just who I am. But this cat, Mia is her name, has adopted me. I was a rescue people and I appreciate being adopted, especially by a cat, since they can be so picky. I’ve been trying to figure out what she is doing here. Laying on my keyboard. Watching my screen as it scrolls through who knows what. She does it a lot. I have no idea why. I don’t understand cats. Or women or sweet potatoes. I don’t know if the cat understands me or not. She’s very circumspect.

thanksgiving: thankful for wonder

for the wonder of the sky, the land, the everywhere, the people who have been, are

will be part of my one



I am thankful

and for the “blue true dream of sky”


as e.e. cummings put it in that certain e.e. cummings way

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukah, All

T.S. Eliot and Swag

English: Thomas Stearns ('T.S.') Eliot with hi...

English: Thomas Stearns (‘T.S.’) Eliot with his sister and his cousin, by Lady Ottoline Morrell (died 1938). See source website for additional information. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First edition cover

First edition cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of nights a ago I pulled out the copy of T.S. Eliot’s COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962, the copy I had in college, and wondered why I liked him so much back then. Wondered why I was wondering/What the fascination was with this highly affected/Beyond self-indulgent/Narcissistic to an extent that would wilt the narcissism of kings. All kings.

At least he was a total pessimist, solipsistic and dreary. (Explains his appeal to collegiate humanities majors).

Now and again there still seem to me to be some good things. Mostly they occur in his “minor” pieces, and who cannot like OLD POSSUM’S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS? Clearly, this was a cat person as a dog would not even have let him in a dog’s house. Dogs are real and open and honest even when they bite. Cats never are. Reflective dissembling is a feline’s stock and trade.

There are many good lines, an occasional image nicely turned, a well-crafted phrase, perhaps overly crafted (And through the spaces of the dark/Midnight shakes the memory/As a madman shakes a dead geranium). Now, he is for eternity interred with his beloved English worms: “This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.” (The Hollow Men).

So un-Faulknerian, that, Faulkner who stated emphatically his belief that man would not merely endure, but prevail. Maybe. Nice to believe, anyway. Were I to pick a single Eliot line for sign-off, it would be: “And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.” (Four Quartets, Little Gidding).

Swag, you know that stuff you find at writers conferences and signings, ballpoints and keychains and bookmarks, postcards and business cards promoting an author’s latest contribution to the ever-growing mound of literary history. What’s it worth? Does it do any good? Has anyone bought a book because of it? Maybe. Is it cost effective? I’d bet against it. That said, I just bought 250 business cards with my website image on one side and my book cover on the other. And three mugs. One for my mother, and extras. Looking at the mugs makes me feel almost important. Not quite, but close. My mother will like hers, however, and will show it to her friends. That’s what makes a $2 mug worth $9.50.

I wonder what sort of swag Eliot would have given were he a swag-giver. Mugs, T-shirts, baseball caps. Unlikely. Engraved lighters, cigars, pipes, tobacco, Armagnac…maybe. A pack of pipe cleaners? I could see that. Faulkner would have swagged Bourbon. I’m sure of that.

William Faulkner, 1954

William Faulkner, 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Ebook pricing, Jerry Jeff Walker, Taxing Marijuana, Blue Dream and ONE MINUTE GONE

“Last week I was thinkin, it’s record time again…”

Which is what Jerry Jeff would think, whereas I would think it’s blogging time again…

Or maybe time to listen to

London Homesick Blues again images

It seems my neuroantennae have begun channeling Jerry Jeff Walker. If I had a choice, I’m not sure that’s whom I would choose to have speaking into my brain in the morning when I wake, but there are definitely worse, even in Texas. Especially in Texas. Ted Cruz comes to mind. I wish he  didn’t.

ONE MINUTE GONE  one_minute_gone_cover_largedh3

For years, medical marijuana has been available in Colorado, as it should be everywhere, IMHO, with a doctor’s approval, but effective January 1st, it will be available on a retail basis, without a doctor’s note. As it should be, IMHO. Not that doctors’ notes are hard to come by. They’re not. You just need some sort of medical condition. Chronic pain or anxiety will do nicely. Last week Colorado voters authorized a tax on retail marijuana that could go as high as 30%, maybe higher, as some local authorities want to add an additional tax. I don’t have a problem with that as long as the retail price, including tax, remains below the street level (illegal) strike point although retail availability may drive the street price down. From an economics standpoint it will be interesting to watch. One thing that has already happened is that Colorado is reaping something of an economic windfall as people move here, including a lot of baby boomers, to take advantage of the availability of regulated, high-quality pot. You know exactly what you are buying, whether it’s Indica or Sativa or a hybrid, and what the THC and CBD content are. It’s like going into a liquor store, or a good wine store, except the other patrons in an MMJ dispensary are more likely to be someone you would want to hang out with. Right, I am speaking for myself now.

The only other issue I have with the tax is that some of the locales that have prohibited retail sales (that’s fine, their privilege) want to participate in the revenue from the tax. That’s stupid. It’s even worse than the NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome, because it’s NIMBY-but-if-you-do-it-in-your-backyard and make money on it I want some. Remember The Little Red Hen? No one would help her plant the seed, harvest, etc., but everyone was willing to help her eat the bread? Same deal.

So what does all of this have to do with ebook pricing strategy? I haven’t figured that out, yet. Probably nothing. But in my last post I said the next would be on ebook pricing strategy so here it is:

How do you price your self-published ebook? As cheaply as possible. You’re not going to make much money, if any, until it starts to sell a lot of copies and the most important thing is to get it out there and into the hands of AMRAP. As many readers as possible. As fast as possible. Mine is at 99 cents. The same is true if you have a print-on-demand trade paperback. I set mine at $8.99, which is barely break-even, but Amazon is selling it today at $7.64, cutting the difference out of their share.

That’s about all I have to say about that. But if you come to Colorado, you can get really good marijuana cheap. Not as cheap as my ebook, but still cheap. If you buy my ebook for .99, or the POD for $7.50, you can also get an eighth of an ounce of something really good from an MMJ dispensary, like Blue Dream or Alaskan Thunderf**k for $25-30. There’s no connection between the two purchases, of course, I’m just saying… Get both and you’ll probably be happier. I know I will.