Recommendation for a Mystery Thriller

When I was a cop (gah – almost 30 years ago!), I worked with a police officer named Mark Bergin. After 30 years, Mark retired as a Lieutenant (but he was a beat cop when I worked with him). Prior to his work as a police officer, he was a newspaper reporter (I think I used to call him a “Cub Reporter”). Now he’s working toward publishing his first novel. You can read more about him, and you can actually read the first chapter of his book, on the website below. He needs 250 people to pre-order the book in order for the publisher to move forward on the project (and, yes, I already ordered one). If you’re looking for a new book to start the new year (and you’ve already purchased and gifted numerous copies of Surveyor), and you want to support a good guy starting a new career, check it out….

Holiday Season – getting stuff done

It’s hard to get writing in during the holiday season.  I discovered this little gem last year, but it’s hitting even harder this year (last year I didn’t have to worry about marketing a book – that’s an added feature for this year). The good news is that I’ll be flying to SoCal later this week, so that should give me about three hours of uninterrupted time to work on Trekker.

I gave up any writing for this weekend mainly due to the fact that I’ll hardly be in the house – most of yesterday afternoon and evening were taken up by watching the spouse sing in her community chorale, then the chorale supper (aka “Afterglow”) afterwards.  Today will be similar, concert in the afternoon, but the added joy or driving to Seattle for a holiday party (then driving home again, late).


Book Launch

Last night was a first – my first ever book launch/book signing event.  Thankfully, Evelyn Nicholas of Sumner’s A Good Book bookstore had some experience/knowledge of this type of event, because I sure didn’t!  I thought I’d be standing around, drinking wine, and telling stories – well, I guess that’s what I wound up doing. But….. it was under controlled circumstances and guided by probing questions from Evelyn and the hordes of fans that arrived (all two of you – just kidding).

I have to say, I was impressed by how many people showed up – from the Dean of one of the colleges I teach at, to the President of the local Transportation Club that I’m a member off, along with a host of friends (mine and my wife’s).

Thanks to all that came out and helped launch Surveyor (and, yes, Clairese, I’ll get back to the keyboard and continue on Trekker).


Support your local bookstore

As a reader, I love going into bookstores. I browse through the Sci-Fi and action section, check out the history stuff, and look for other interesting books (sustainable development, forestry, whatever catches my eye). I usually try to come out with at least one book (or movie – preferably a stooopid movie).

Tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 6th, I’ll be launching the release of Surveyor at a local bookstore – A Good Book in Sumner, WA. If you can make it, great. We start at 7 PM and go to 8:30 PM.  If not, there will be other events, such as book signings, in the future.

If you like to hold a real book in your hand while you read, rather than an e-book, then take a minute to go to your local bookstore and request a copy of Surveyor if it’s not on the shelf.

So far, three real brick and mortar bookstores carry (or will be carrying) Surveyor: A Good Book in Sumner, The Sequel in Enumclaw, and the University Bookstore in Seattle. Please visit the and support a local bookstore/business and an indie author.

Writing, writing, writing – Stuck!

Well, I guess I’m kind of stuck right now. I know where the book Trekker is going, but I’m having difficulty moving it along.  Normally I write very linearly and chronological, but I think I’ll have to take a break and move along to a more forward scene to get it cracking.  We’ll see.

In other news, I just did a quick outline for another series in mind (the third – Corps of Discovery is the first, a timeline where the South successfully secedes is the second – and for the Amazon reviewer that didn’t like the libertarian world building of Surveyor, you’re really gonna hate the that world building). This new series will involve time travel involving a sniper that  goes back to the Revolutionary War.  I think this guy’ll be a historian combat vet instead of a recent geography graduate. Lots to do (and insufficient quantities of temporal matter)

Book Signing

Yes, the first official book release and book signing will take place this Wednesday, December 6th, from 7 to 8:30 PM at A Good Book Bookstore at 1014 Main St., Sumner WA.

I hope some of my loyal readers (all two of you) will be able to make it, meet the author (that would be me), get a book signed, have a glass of wine, and hobnob with all three of my friends (if they show up, that is).


Reviews are interesting things.  As a business person (I invented and sell the Simple Shower), I’m always looking at reviews.  What have I done right or missed? How could I make the experience better? Sometimes (as was pointed out to me during my cop days), I’m my own worst critic.

Well, until now.  It appears somebody didn’t like the political framework that Surveyor is based on, and instead of looking at the story and plot line, based the review on politics.  Um, it’s fiction, dude!  Fiction. That means, it ain’t real.  It’s a story line.  I can understand not liking how the author writes (many out there I can’t stand), or the genre (I can’t stand several – don’t expect to catch me reading a Jane Austin historical romance), or the protagonist, the ending, etc.  But, giving a crap review because you didn’t like the world building (and then using name-calling to emphasize your own point of view)?  Well, c’est la vie.  Your right, your perspective.

If you’re going to review a book, though, reach back into your secondary school days and remember what a review is supposed to be – a summary of the book and what you liked or didn’t like about it.

Here are a couple of good articles on how to write book reviews.

How to Write a Book Review

How to Write a Good Book Review (I really like this one)

And for Amazon specific reviews, here’s a good one: Tips for Writing Amazon Reviews.

Violating these review rules throws you into the chucklehead section of the bleachers.

Black Friday

Another Black Friday has come and gone, and once again I’m amazed at just how silly/crazy people can be just to save a few bucks on items they (or their loved ones) don’t really need.

Rather than invest in material goods, try investing in yourself.  Just sayin’.

The Butler

Last night the spousal unit and I watched the movie The Butler starring Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.  Awesome movie that shows how truly nasty people can be to each other, but also how people can work together to overcome evil.  I highly recommend it.

Live your book

I figure if you’re going to write about something, you should also experience it to whatever degree is possible.  Alas, I can’t go to other worlds, but I can take a precision rifle course to better understand shooting dynamics.

Over the weekend I took a Precision Rifle Course in Bend, OR.  Initially, I was going to take it in August, before releasing Surveyor, but the class got cancelled due to fire hazard (Bureau of Land Management shut down the range).  I had hoped to include the knowledge and skills I would learn in the novel, but couldn’t.  Glad to see I wrote it up properly.

As to the course, it was AWESOME!  Over two days I took my shooting skills from pretty damn good at 100 and 200 yards and extended them out to 1,200 yards.  The furthest I had shot before had been 300 yards (M-16), so I was doubtful I would hit the mythical 1,000 yard mark that the course instructor said I would be able to.  The first day was about three hours of instruction (learned about the effects of gravity, wind, and rifle twist deflection), followed by several hours of shooting from 100 to 500 yards.  I was totally stoked when I hit the 400 yard target, as that was farther than I had ever shot before.

The second day we shot starting at 500 yards and eventually worked our way up to 1,200 yards.  I think my spotter was more stoked than I when the first round I fired at that distance hit the metal silhouette target (on the left side) – the second round was dead center!  The wind was blowing steady at 10 MPH with gusts up to 15, so between the twist drift and wind drift, I had to set my scope adjustments (windage and elevation) so that the rifle was pointing about 5 feet left of the target and 23 feet above the target while the scope was on the target.

For those who have never shot long distance, one of the amazing things is to watch the passage of the bullet downrange as it displaces air.

Of course, during the friendly competition among the three groups (there were six students, one shot while the other spotted, then we traded places), I blew it.  Instead of moving my windage left, I moved it right, just before the first shot.  Every shot after that was off 😦  Good learning experience.