EXECUTIVE ORDER #17,342 ~ 0001 HOURS, JANUARY 1

  Stuart, Florida “Zup, Billy? “Did you see it, man? All those cool army trucks?” “No. Where?” “The fairgrounds. I’m on my bike. There must be a hundred. They’re still coming.” “No way.” “Yeah, way. You gotta get down here and see for yourself.”   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   Cedar Rapids, Iowa   Sitting in his office, Dan was daydreaming—woolgathering his grandmother would have said. The smartphone on his desk began to vibrate. He kept the sound off, a courtesy to his cubical mates. Yawning, he picked up the phone and looked at the screen. There was a text from his girlfriend. SARAH: “Military trucks driving past.” DAN: “What? How many?” SARAH: “I quit counting. WTF?” DAN: “What kind?” SARAH: “Big ones what do I know.” DAN: “What direction?” SARAH: “Looking. Somebody got out of one. OMG, looking up at me. They are all turning in at—” DAN: “What?” Dan tried to call Sarah. Voicemail, he sighed. After several more tries, Dan disconnected. It doesn’t make any sense. Finally, he took a jacket off the hanger. Trying not to be concerned, Dan knew Sarah wasn’t given to speculation. Something about the text ending the way it did was…

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Ready, Fire and then Aim? Huh?

Is it even possible to break through the algorithm barrier and make your book discoverable? I’m still on a learning curve, but I wanted to share something you don’t want to do, fire without aiming. Ready? Writer’s write, it’s what we love doing. Editing is sweaty, the part most writers would like to skip. Fire? That’s rushing a book into print without a marketing plan. Aim? What happens if we are ready and fire before we aim? What’s wrong with that order? Book marketing strategy begins by asking your inner writer a simple question.  Why do you write?  What feeds your writing journey?  Are you looking for fame, awards, and accolades?  How about the money?  Are you looking for a way to finance an order for your new Lexus with your royalties? I remember a conversation. “I’m not making any money.  In business school, they teach about return on investment, ROI.  I do not see a return on my writing investment.  Why should I continue writing?” There is nothing wrong with earning money, don’t get me wrong.  I would love a large royalty check, and I have just the luxury car in mind.  But I ask myself why I write?.…

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BUILD THAT WALL! BUILD THAT WALL! BUILD THAT WALL!

A loud chant, or a quiet poem? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” In those few precious, well-chosen words Emma Lazarus captured the essence of what I like to think of as the ‘heart’ of my country. I’ve always thought it ironic, that the woman who wrote those words, a woman born into a large Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish family, would likely have been turned away trying to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s. At the same time a plaque with her words was being placed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the Immigration Act of 1903 was being passed, sometimes called the Alien Enemies Act. It was intended to keep out Anarchists, revolutionaries, and radical labor unionists. The lamp beside the golden door that was a welcoming beacon was now used to show the way out. That applied to foreign-born troublemakers, and the act allowed the use of administrative procedures without that pesky due process detail. We can go all the way back to 1798 and thank the men…

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OUR UNRAVELLING MORAL FABRIC

One way to describe Moral Fabric is to view us, as a society, sharing a standard dignity through high principles making the moral fabric a keystone; keeping the social order maintained and the standards it holds high-together. Now think about ours as a sweater, woven by that great moral fabric, now three hundred and forty-one years old now. In the time since it was knitted by our founders, there have been loose threads, even rips, some people even attempting to tear it apart. Still, the sweater has remained intact. Now, I wonder if that sweater knitted with moral fabric is finally beginning to unravel, along with it, our democracy as we know it. Little did I realize that when I started The CleanSweep Conspiracy, gathering my thoughts, and notes that would eventually lead to the novel, that it was a cautionary tale. When the canary in a coal mine died from deadly gasses and stopped singing, the miners knew it was a warning. Today, with the emergence of an American oligarch tweeting us into a coma, complete with Alt Right support, can we still hear the canary of our democracy? Growing up, my parents and teachers stressed the high value…

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A SCARY STORY: when imagination becomes reality

A Scary story about reality and imagination, or what does a Texas sheriff and The CleanSweep Conspiracy have in common? Okay, writers just make stuff up, right? We use our imagination, sometimes straying into some rather unique cerebral neighborhoods. I’ll admit there are times I like to paraphrase that Las Vegas adage, what happens in my imagination stays in my imagination. I do understand there is often a bleeding between fantasy and reality. I don’t worry so much about reality bleeding into imagination, but when it’s the other way around . . . I think we have enough on our hands dealing with the real. It’s when we have to deal with someone’s imagination it gets scary for me. It seems to happen a lot during this current U.S. presidential campaign. But I digress from my original thought for this blog. I began my notes for The CleanSweep Conspiracy almost ten years ago. I read and heard all the speculation about the rioting that took place in Toronto during the 2010 G20 conference. Millions went into security, hoping to prevent rioting that occurred in previous G20 conferences in other cities. Intense police presence and citizens needing identity cards to go…

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What are you afraid of?

Something about a story caught my eye. I don’t usually read Parade. It comes tucked in with my Sunday newspaper. But there it was, a question on the cover asking “What are you afraid of?” With all of the fear mongering coming from the candidates on a particular side of the political divide, I would think I had a lot to be afraid of. I hear from them that we are being overrun by aliens (and not just the ones from outer space). I’m being told the economy is in ruins now, and will only get worse. Crazed suicide bombers are lurking behind every tree. I can recognize hyperbole when I see (or hear) it, but what are we really afraid of? Apparently we all share a fear of walking alone in the dark. Who isn’t afraid of being attacked by zombies? I certainly am, even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. But, aren’t there real things to worry about? What about flying? I’m not afraid of flying. That said, as my flight was on approach to Laguardia, I had an uncomfortable feeling as I looked down at the river where the hero, Scully, made history, landing in…

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