Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Book Contract

Signing a new book contract is always an exciting event, no matter how often it occurs. It represents a milestone along the path of conceiving an idea, writing it down, editing it into an improved form and gaining the acceptance of a publisher.

This week I signed an agreement with Encircle Publications for my fifteenth book, Unstuff Your Stuff, for publication in October of this year. Here’s a brief preview:
Millicent Hargrove must deal with the murder of her husband as she begins her new life as a widow and professional organizer. She escapes attempts on her own life and figures out the mystery of the cryptic messages left by her husband. She discovers how to organize people’s stuff while sorting through the clutter from the secret life her husband led.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Physical Aspects of Aging

Many of my mystery novels include older characters. I guess that’s appropriate because I am now an older character.

For all of you young ‘uns and even the oldsters, here’s what I’ve learned about the physical aspects of aging.

1.      It happens. Get used to it.

2.      Things that used to get done quickly, take longer. Bending, lifting, moving all take more time than in the past. I also find I get distracted more. My wife refers to this as the intervening thought. I go into a room to get scissors, notice a magazine I haven’t finished and forget the scissors. I leave the room and then realize I need the scissors. Much slower that doing it the first time. My morning routine of getting up, grooming, eating breakfast and doing my stretches now takes close to two hours. Part of this is because of my slower pace. The other part is that after shoulder, neck, back, hip and knee pain, I have more stretches and exercises to do.

3.      I played competitive tennis as a kid and in college, but now my main exercise is walking. The joints can ‘t take jogging any longer, but I enjoy an hour walk. It gets me outside, I get my sunshine vitamin D, and I can enjoy the scenery while getting a good workout.

So there are changes as we get older. But as my stepdad used to say, it sure beats the alternative.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

World War II Veteran

My good friend, Ed Gitlin, turns ninety-nine years old this month. He is an avid reader of history, has a quirky sense of humor and survived war trauma including being a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II.

Ed taught me so much about World War II as we worked together on his biography. It was released under two titles, but is the same book: For Liberty: A World War II Soldier’s Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience and The Best Chicken Thief in All of Europe.

Happy birthday, Ed.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Storytelling with Kids

I enjoy telling stories to my two-year-old grandson. In my family there is a tradition of Horace the Flying Horse stories. My mom told them to me, I told them to our three kids, and I now share them with my grandson. These involve seeing a small speck in the sky, it gets larger and larger, and suddenly Horace lands to take the listener on an adventure. The child climbs aboard and holds on tight. Then Horace flies into the air to go to some near destination or distant land. After the adventure, Horace returns the child to the starting point.

My grandson also loves cars and trucks. I invent action stories for him using his vehicles. We line up a bulldozer, dump truck, cement truck, road roller and street sweeper. I tell him the following and he acts it out with the proper truck. “A new road needs to be built. First, the bulldozer clears the dirt. Then the dump truck unloads gravel. Now the cement mixer arrives to dump cement. The road roller rolls the road. Finally, the wind blows leaves on the road so the street sweeper comes along to clear the leaves. He never tires of acting this out.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Who Would You Like to Sit Next to at Dinner?

At a book club holiday party I attended this week, we all answered the question of who we would like to sit next to at dinner (living, dead or fictional).

I chose Nikola Tesla. The reason being that I read extensively about the eccentric inventor when doing research for my international thriller, The Tesla Legacy.

He was on the autism spectrum with a number of strange quirks, one of which was to do things in multiples of three. When he went to dinner, he insisted on having three, nine or eighteen napkins served to him with his meal. I would like to see this.

But more important was his brilliant mind. He could invent things in his head and go directly from mental image to design without a blueprint. And he had a concept to generate electricity through the air or ground without wires. I would love to discuss this with him.
Who would you choose and why?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941

I grew up in Hawaii so the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was a significant event to hear about in my childhood.

Both of my parents were in Honolulu on that date. My mother worked for Globe Wireless (a communication company of that era) and opened the office that Sunday morning. Needless to say she didn’t get home until late at night with all the messages that needed to be sent and received.

Both of my parents recounted stories of getting blackout curtains up and having to obey a curfew. But on December 7, 1941, they also had to deal with rumors such as the water supply had been poisoned, the Japanese had landed or were coming back.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Things That Go Bump in the Night

You’re sound asleep and awakened by an eerie sound. Where’s it coming from? What is it? Has this happened to you?

We experienced this recently. My wife, an avid mystery reader, solved it. We have a number of books in our house for grandkids, and she recently retired a number of them and put them in bags to give away. One of the talking books (you push a button and the book speaks like a cartoon character) obviously didn’t want to leave. Somehow one of the buttons got activated and the sound we heard was Minnie Mouse saying, “Don’t you just love tea parties.”

Not at four in the morning.