Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Going Viral




Hey I’ve just gone viral. In the old sense of the word, that is, with a bad case of what I have dubbed the Florida crud. It started like a nightmare, my throat dipped in kerosene and set afire, my ears serving as blistering passageways where the flames escaped. My bones ached like they’d been stomped a thousand times during the running of the bulls in Pamplona—or at least through downtown Tampa. I coughed and hacked until my insides turned out and I did the unmentionable over the toilet. The only missing element was, no gastric involvement, and so I survived the past several days on bouts of bed rest and ate cough drops as if they were popcorn.

 I haunted the aisles of the drugstore, reading the labels on the nostrums as if they were blurbs from hot novels designed to deliver prurient thrills. I finally settled on Advil, and took enough pills that I could, after several days of negative gravity, muster the energy to dial my friend Vi to apologize for not calling her to let he know that I had indeed arrived in beautiful Southwest Florida for the winter only to be felled by some local bug lurking on the underside of the pristine weather.

Guess what? Vi sounded worse than I did. Vi, being Vi, a woman careful to look after her health, had already been to the doctor, who told her there was nothing she could do, would not prescribe an antibiotic. This was a case of the old fashioned viral nasty. The best the doc could offer was to suggest that Vi stock up on some high test cough syrup and tough it out. Vi could return for medical intervention if her cough hung on for more than six weeks. Six weeks?

Vi confessed that she is hiding out from the Centers for Disease Control and I am loath to rat out my friend, so I am not using her real name. Vi is terrified that she’s the CDC hit list, since she was silly enough to attend a seminar, from which she had to excuse herself several times to go out and hack her head off in the hall.
Not the way to go viral these days. This was no hit on the best seller list, where we had had hit the jackpot with a bestseller on Amazon. This was just a wake-up call from the real world where going viral is not at all glamorous, and the old meaning, viral, rears its ugly head and asserts its original meaning with a deadly sting.   

Friday, March 15, 2013

Catherine Coulter at the Piano?



 Catherine Coulter at the piano? With 65 million books in print? But there she was doing familiar hymns and popular tunes last night at the Congregational and United Church of Christ Church in Fort Myers, FL. As Coulter exchanged the keyboard for the podium she said her mother was a church musician. This dynamo of the book biz with her stable of thrillers, suspense and romance novels said she was lucky to have flourished during the golden age of publishing. She sees a future where books on paper will be relegated to curiosities as the publishing world turns electronic. On the other hand, the frontier world of self-publishing offers ample opportunities for the aspiring writer, but one thing that doesn’t change is the discipline required to write. Two hours a day, every day; that’s Coulter’s formula.
Coulter’s in town for the Southwest Florida Reading festival Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Harborside Hall, downtown Fort Myers. Coulter is just one of two dozen nationally known authors in multiple genres for children and adults.
Do stop by the exhibition hall where novelist Bennett Shelfer and I can be found in space 43, with our novels, Drawing Dead and Four of a Kind, based on that icon of American literary lore, the poker game.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Millie McCall's Full Moon Poker Night

Eastsound WA: A full moon sets Darvill's bookstore aglow for the launch of Four of a Kind, Doug Quinn's collection of poker tales from around the country. Who should stride right in, wearing her flaming red gown and her Harley leathers, but Millie McCall herself, the eccentric herione of my novella, Millie McCall's Full Moon Poker Night, showering readers with cards and poker chips, just as riotous ever she was, the sort of  outrageous character much beloved here in the San Juan Islands.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In the Final Analysis, 23 percent of Americans believe that President Obama was born in Kenya and somebody, quite possibly his wily grandparents, inserted a fake birth announcement in the two major Honolulu newspapers.  This startling statistic jumped out at me from the inside back page of the August 2010 issue of Psychology Today.

 That was back when the previous poster boy for the “birther” movement, Terrance Larkin,  a U.S. Army Lt. Colonel and a medical doctor faced court-marshal  for refusing a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Larkin claimed that President Obama had not produced a birth certificate and therefore could not prove he was the legitimate President. This meant that Larkin was under no obligation to follow Army orders.

In the end, after being touted on the internet as a national hero, Larkin ate crow at his own trial, pleading for leniency. The Army was no place to serve as a political platform, Larkin admitted, and the Army agreed, at which point jurors put Larkin in jail for six months and tossed him out of the service.

 Donald Trump dragged up this this fake political issue in his recent bid to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States. As for those who disagree with Obama’s policies, there are plenty of reasons for legitimate debate, about real issues of substance to the nation. Too bad we have heard nothing of substance from The Donald.

Last May, during the Larkin debate, CNN Reporter Anderson Cooper flashed a Hawaiian birth certificate popped onto the screen. There I sat, staring at a familiar document issued by the State of Hawaii Health Department. Since my two sons were born on the Island of Maui, I have several certified copies of their birth certificates in the house, so, if anyone cares to ask, I’ll personally verify that the President’s birth certificate is legitimate.

State of Hawaii birth certificates for my sons have been accepted by public schools, colleges, universities, and the U.S. Government Passport Agency. I am able to order birth certificates for my sons because, as their mother, I am a person who is entitled to order one under the tests set forth under a very common sense provision of Hawaii law which excludes the general public from requesting anybody’s birth certificate and doing weird things with it, for instance passing themselves off as someone else, for instance, the president.

If Obama has no Hawaii birth certificate, just how is it that he could have gone to school in the United States, been admitted to Columbia University and Harvard, served in the United States Senate, and traveled outside the country on a United States passport?

If Obama has no Hawaii birth certificate, then my sons have no birth certificates. If the President of the United States has no personal privacy, then my sons have none, and neither do the millions of native born Hawaiians.

As for Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, I do hope that the powers-that-be in the GOP will drag The Donald into the boardroom and give him a little of his own medicine: “Donald Trump, you are fired.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

Don't Miss the Naples Authors and Books Festival This Weekend

http://authorsandbooksfestival.org/2010/12/book-as-event/

Here's a book festival with something for everyone, and it's coming up this weekend. Aside from a two day slate of workshops, there's a wonderful Saturday luncheon at one of Naples' premier restaurants with the lively Nancy Cohen as keynote speaker, two days of workshops, pitch sessions with editors and literary agents and an evening street fair for attending authors. There's a mystery authors panel on Sunday morning, where we're talking about the nuts and bolts of the most popular genre in the nation, and I'd love to see you there.

Even if you can't make the conference, take the virtual tour through the website which offers tips, quips and suggestions to help you make the most of your writing career.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring

The otter slinks past my window, tail curled high, in a salute to the sky.