Saturday, January 26, 2013


Last night my wife made a comment that I was overscheduled. My first reaction was: Me? Can’t be. I’m retired. 

Then I got to thinking. I retired into fiction writing, so I have a lot going on in my writing life, and, yes, I’ve added quite a few commitments recently. The good news is I’m doing things I want to do.

This morning I sat down and listed all my activities. First, was writing itself, which entails research, writing a manuscript, editing and critique groups. Second were the promotional activities: signings, presentations, selling manuscripts, blogging, social networking, followed by the administrative activities around writing. Then I moved on to my volunteer activities, including becoming president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and serving on the national MWA Board, co-chair of the Boulder County Aging Advisory Council, vice president of the Boulder Citizens’ Police Academy Alumni Association. a respite volunteer, assisting with the Left Coast Crime Conference and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference, and serving as a teaching assistant in the Educurious program. Finally, was time spent exercising every day. I didn’t include time cooking or food shopping. To my amazement when I put hours to each of these, it added up to sixty-five hours a week. My wife was absolutely correct. I’m overscheduled. So my resolution is to not add more activities or if I add something, I need to cut back somewhere else. But I'm not giving up exercising.

Monday, January 21, 2013


When a new book is published in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, I put together a new presentation to give at book events, book clubs, libraries, service organizations (such as Rotary, Optimist, Kiwanis) and retirement communities. With the publication in December, 2012, of Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder, I now have a speech titled, “Rejection Is Not a Four Letter Word.” It takes me approximately two months to prepare a presentation. I keep a manila folder full of ideas, quotes, stories, etc. I take this out and start organizing ideas. Then I write out a script. I review it a number of times to tweak it. Next, I read through the script to time it, since I want a presentation of twenty-five to thirty minutes. Finally, I practice it over and over. I find that it takes me a month to memorize a presentation. I practice at my desk and when I take my daily walks. The hardest part is memorizing names. Then after I start giving the presentation, I have to still practice it, so I won’t forget it. I do all this work because I owe it to my audience to have an entertaining and professional presentation, and I owe it to myself to do the best I can.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Boulder Citizens’ Police Academy Alumni Association

After going through the Boulder Citizens’ Police Academy a number of years ago, I joined the alumni association, which holds meeting once a month with interesting guest speakers. This week Detective Chuck Heidel spoke on the Marty Grisham cold case. Mary Grisham was murdered in 1994. Through perseverance and hard work, Detective Heidel solved the case, and Michael Clark was brought to trial and convicted in 2012. Although no one witnessed the murder and the police never found the weapon, the District Attorney and police build a solid case using only circumstantial evidence. The judge made a statement to the jury that the law makes no distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence, and in this case, the circumstantial evidence led to a conviction.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Latest Life of Crime

Several times a year, I put aside my writing to become a “criminal”—not really committing crimes but becoming a role player to help train new police officers. A number of years ago I attended a citizens’ police academy, and I’m now a member of an alumni group that meets monthly but also volunteers to assist with police training.

Yesterday, my role was to be an aggressive panhandler. I learned that our city ordinance allows panhandling under the following circumstances: the panhandler can stand in a safe public place with a sign and can ask someone for money once. If the panhandler asks more than once, follows a person or touches a person, it’s considered aggressive panhandling and can lead to a police citation. I was an aggressive and obnoxious panhandler and received five citations for violating section 5-3-7 of the municipal code, which could lead to a bond of $250.