Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunny Frazier- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I welcome Sunny Frazier to Twelve Question Tuesday. 

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
I served my country during the Viet Nam war (Navy).
I have been doing astrology for 43 years.
I worked 11 years with an undercover narcotics team. 

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
With 12 cats currently in residence, I think it's safe to say I'm a feline person.

3.  Tea or coffee?
Tea. English or Irish Breakfast tea.

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Do granny panties count? So comfy.

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
A story my older sister needed for a class assignment. She cheated--and then became a nun.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
When I got my own column in the high school newspaper. I was the editor of the Tiger's Voice.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
A children's book that has yet to be published.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
I nearly got thrown into prison in Haiti for taking a photo of the armory. The people in the Iron Market rioted and got me out of there.

9.  How did you end up getting published?
Two friends and I collected our prize winning short stories and co-published with Fithian Press. The book is calleld "Valley Fever: Where Murder Is Contagious."

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
I'd be food.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Ran across the tarmac, barricaded the luggage door of a plane in Bogota, kicked a Colombian guard while my friend searched for our baggage with our passports and had to turn myself in to the JAG at my Navy base in Puerto Rico. We were NOT smuggling cocaine or emeralds. Total misunderstanding.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
Famous. Nobody cares if you're rich when you die.


A Snitch In Time, the third book in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, explores the possibility of using astrology to profile a serial killer. The book will be out around Thanksgiving and will be available on Amazon.


Saturday, November 23, 2013


A friend recently read a Facebook status I posted and commented that she wished I could live inside her brain.  It made me realize that the distinction between writers and non-writers isn’t just that we write things other people don’t, but that we see the world differently.

I hear a chainsaw break through the sound of the wind chimes hanging from my porch one blustery, chilly morning.  My dogs stop, stare at the window, emit low growls.

My sister would dismiss this whole scene as a neighbor working on his house and tell her dogs to shut up.  To me it’s a psychopathic killer, making his way house by house, killing anyone he finds. He uses the chainsaw to cut through the front doors he can’t break into or kick down.  And then–

If you’re a writer, you can imagine what comes after the “and then.” 

As writers, nothing we see, hear, or otherwise experience, can be taken at face value.  A speeding driver isn’t just an obnoxious danger to the road–he is a spy on a mission, a man rushing to the hospital to see the birth of his son, a robber eluding police.
That light moving through the sky is a Delta Airlines plane to some people.  To a writer it is a spaceship from another universe, the plane of a super hero or super villain, or an experimental, top secret mode of military transportation being tested.

To a writer, a cigar is never just a cigar.  Even Freud might be surprised at everything a cigar could be or might mean to a writer.

It isn’t just wild imagination that sets us apart–if that were the case, 2-year-olds  would be excellent writers.  It’s seeing realistic possibilities within our wild imaginations and being able to describe it and share it with others, to give these possibilities form, a plot, characters, and if we do it right, a theme, the whole raison d’etre of our work.

I don’t think my friend would really want me living in her brain. I think it would scare her to see things the way I see them.  Or possibly make her slightly schizophrenic, the way I sometimes feel.  But I really wouldn’t mind sharing some of my imagination with her, especially when I hear a thump and start imagining all of the possibilities that I know my friend can not.
If I can’t share my brain, at least I can share the crazy ideas that I can formulate into my stories, and hopefully entertain people in the process.  And if not, at least my life never seems as boring as it actually is.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

John R. Lindermuth- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I welcome John R. Lindermuth to Twelve Question Tuesday.

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.   
JRL: I’m curious about everything. I’m not fond of change, but adaptable. And I’m patient. 

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
JRL: Definitely dog.

3.  Tea or coffee?
JRL: I’ll drink both, but coffee (black and strong) is preferred.

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
JRL: Briefs, please.

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
JRL: Aside from my name? I started drawing stories as soon as I could hold a pencil. When I’d accumulated some words, I started adding captions. Then at some point (pre-high school—I’m so ancient I can’t recall exactly when) I got the itch to emulate some of my favorite writers and began doing stories without pictures.

 6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
JRL: Though I was already writing, my initial goal was to be either (or both) an artist and archaeologist. When our mutual uncle drafted me he didn’t need any artists and sent me to journalism school. That led to my becoming a newspaper reporter and later an editor. Stories and books were accumulating and I started seeking publication. A reporter is a writer. Somehow it didn’t actually feel official until that first magazine acceptance.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
JRL: Writers love all their children. But one I especially favor is Watch The Hour, a historical novel about a police officer sworn to protect property of mine owners in the 1870s. His job makes him the enemy of Irish workers and he’s in love with an Irish lass.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
JRL: Visiting the DMZ in Korea.

9.  How did you end up getting published?
JRL: Perseverance.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?JRL: I don’t believe in zombies, so I’d probably end up as food.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
JRL: Raising children as a single parent.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
JRL: If I were rich I’d only buy more books or make more visits to Mexico and other favorite places. I think I’d prefer the type of fame that comes with having done something people respect.


Sooner Than Gold:

Sylvester Tilghman, sheriff of Arahpot, Jordan County, Pennsylvania, has a murder victim with too many enemies.

There’s Claude Kessler, who is found standing with a knife in his hand over the body of Willis Petry. There’s Rachel Webber, Petry’s surly teen-aged stepdaughter, who admits an act intended to cause him harm. Then there’s the band of gypsies who claim Petry is the goryo who stole one of their young women.

Website: http://www.jrlindermuth.net

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth

Blog: http://jrlindermuth.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Words Count

Some writers seem to write just to get attention.  Obviously, writing for the public presupposes on
some scale that the writer wants attention.  Whether posting on a blog or publishing a novel, the writer wants people to read it, which necessarily involves seeking and getting attention.

But some writers, particularly on public forums, seem to post things just to get others riled up, and to get responses from people with diametrically opposing viewpoints.  Take the newspaper forums.  In New Orleans, we have nola.com. To be honest, even the most innocuous response to a story causes a shit storm of responses on the site.

Some responses are from buffoons, for lack of a better, more technical category– you know, those people who will say anything just to cause trouble, whether they believe it or not. They will comment on race, sexual orientation, physical beauty, weight, especially if it has absolutely nothing to do with the story. These people never progressed emotionally beyond a sixth grade level.  Maybe in middle school other kids laughed at the comments because they wanted to fit in, or maybe 11-year-olds really do think some of those things are funny.

Then there are the politically motivated, the people who believe politics have something to do with everything.  A typhoon just struck the Phillippines? Someone will blame the inclement weather on the democrats or republicans. Earthquake? Must be something George Bush did. Or Obama.   

The religious zealots also crave attention in the forum world.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to offer prayers to a cause or victim.  What I find annoying are the comments like, “Katrina was a punishment from God.”  Or attempting to justify terrorists attacks by calling it God’s will.  Do these people think they are convincing people of their viewpoint on God? Or do they just want to aggravate the crap out of everyone else?

The worst, however, are the people who have to argue an opposing view point just for the sake of argument.  As a criminal appellate public defender, my job is nothing if not playing devil’s advocate, but I’ve seen people on list serves or public forums who always argue against what the masses seem to agree, even when the argument is nonsensical and unsupported by any actual evidence or facts.  These people can have no other goal than to get people to notice them.

The U.S. is a great country to live in, in part because of the rights we have.  Consequently, it’s kind of difficult to complain about someone exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.  The Framers' intent in drafting the original Constitution was actually to limit the government’s involvement and intrusion into our daily lives, not necessarily to give us extra rights.  The amendments contained in the Bill of Rights, adopted more than a decade after the Constitution was signed, was designed to enumerate specific rights the government could not infringe upon.

Interestingly, the Bill of Rights also includes the Fifth Amendment, which gives citizens the exact opposite right, the right not to speak.  While it involves the invocation of the right of an individual suspected of a crime not to be forced to incriminate himself, sometimes I wish the individuals who relied so much upon the First Amendment would take a hint from the Fifth Amendment.

(As a short aside, if you ever want to get freaked out, watch a British cop show.  When they arrest the suspect, the first thing they do is ask if the arrestee wants to say anything, and advise him that remaining silent can be used as evidence of guilt.  Whoa is all I can say about that.  But I digress.)

Normally, commenting on public forums won’t result in criminal charges so the Fifth Amendment wouldn’t be implicated.  New Orleans is anything but normal, however, and we have had U.S. Attorneys get in trouble for comments about pending cases they made on public forums using pseudonyms, so it’s always wise to be careful.

Did the U.S. Attorneys involved crave the same attention the way the buffoons and trouble makers on the forums seemed to crave attention?  Or did they comment in order to tip the scales at trial time, to give them a leg up in the prosecution?

At least one federal judge seemed to think the latter was correct when he set aside convictions that he felt were influenced by the U.S. Attorney’s comments on these same forums.  So commenting is not always innocuous and not always victimless.

As writers, we get attention whether that is our ultimate goal or not.  Our work should affect people, hopefully in a good way, but not necessarily so.  While everyone might not like what we’ve written, just as we sometimes might not be able to stomach comments made by racists, zealots, or just plain crazy people, it’s important to remember that our words matter, and can sometimes have effects we haven’t anticipated. 

While the government prosecutors involved in the posting scheme likely didn’t realize they would eventually get in trouble for posting their comments– mainly because they made up fake names they thought couldn’t be traced– anyone who puts anything in writing, whether in a book, on a forum, or in an old-fashioned hand-written note, should realize that someone on the other end is going to read it. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ron Corbin- Guest Blog

Ron Corbin
Today I am excited to welcome Ron Corbin, who explains his road to becoming a writer.

Path to Publication
by Ron Corbin  

Army helicopter pilot, Vietnam vet, police officer and helicopter pilot/instructor, school teacher and principal, counter-terrorism trainer for nuclear facilities, security consultant and lecturer, security director, guard service manager, crime prevention specialist, editor of a police training magazine, police academy training manager…these are the “hats” I have worn for the past five decades. On “face value,” it would appear that I can’t hold a job…right? But actually, events of my life have opened many doors of opportunity for new adventures. 

Interspersed with all these careers, I started college after completing my military career in 1969 as a 23-year-old. Being on a college campus as a Vietnam War “baby-killer” in the early 70s was not a good place to be. I worked my way through college without any student loans for the next eighteen years. In other words, I went to college for a long time, not a good time … no frat parties and such … and my wife saw to that.

As varied as my job professions have been, so are my degrees. I have an AA in Physical Education, a BA in Child Development, an MS in Elementary Education, and a PhD in Security Administration. I think that all I am really qualified to do is to teach counter-terrorism to those little “terrorists” running around pre- and elementary school.

I retired three years ago for the third time in my life, only this time it is for good. I was a sworn officer for LAPD, a federal security contractor, an honorary captain for New Orleans PD, and a civilian employee for Las Vegas Metropolitan PD. Although I hope that I never need them, maybe my ID cards from these agencies…these “get-out-of-jail-free” cards… might come in handy someday.

After working forty-seven years, my immediate goal upon retiring was to not drive my wife crazy and to keep from getting a divorce. Which this almost happened when I started reorganizing the freezer contents by meat type, arranging the dishware in the cabinets by color, and telling her how to do things more efficiently around the house. I couldn’t believe how she had done this without my help and advice for forty-five years.

Being home 24/7, I was having adjustment issues to my new world of not having deadlines and projects to meet on a daily basis. I was waking up early each morning, realizing that the alarm was not set, and that I could actually sleep-in. I was becoming a couch-potato, getting hooked on TV shows like “Army Wives” and “Dance Moms.” So, it was my wife, Kathy, who encouraged me to do something productive and to write a book. I think that she believed this would probably just get me “out of her hair” for a few months; it took only three before I finished.

Experiences of a Los Angeles 
Police Officer protecting 
and serving the various 
communities within the 
Los Angeles Metropolitan area.
Although I have written short stories for several anthologies and have been a columnist for a magazine, I didn’t consider myself a good writer. Not wanting to be an embarrassing failure to family and friends, I thought that I would simply document some thoughts on paper. If nothing else, I’d staple at the top left corner and leave some readings for my children and grand-children. But through a mutual acquaintance and a social event, fortunately I was introduced to Billie Johnson, Publisher for Oak Tree Press. After sharing some casual conversation, she asked me to send her the manuscript that I had written. And now, thanks to her, I have my first book released…Beyond Recognition.

In my military flying career, I had experienced a complete engine failure (at night), an in-flight cockpit fire, loss of tail rotor control, and a couple bullet holes. In June 1976, I was instructing an LAPD pilot trainee when we experienced a loss of power while landing to the top of a mountain pad. Coming just four-inches short from making the pad, my trainee and I impacted and rolled down the mountain 167 feet, exploding in a ball of fire. Tragically he was killed, but I was more fortunate and walked away with nearly 70% second and third degree burns. 

Beyond Recognition is a memoir and expose` of my accident. It begins with a few police street stories that I encountered working as a patrol officer in LA. As a survivor of Hamburger Hill, I also incorporate a few combat incidents from my two tours flying combat missions in Vietnam. But overall, the book is a non-fiction account of the jealousies and animosities I encountered as a military-trained pilot in a civilian organization. It tells of my experience in the burn ward, a few of my rehab issues and my wife’s emotional ordeal, but mostly it’s a legacy of the misled post-accident investigation and false accusations by the chief pilot. It is also a story of sadness and survivor’s guilt.

However, now that my ego has been fed with that successful publication, I am concurrently working on two manuscripts. One is a short book for adolescents. It’s about growing up in a small, farming community in southeastern Kansas during the 40s and 50s. It will be titled, Why All the Elm Trees Died. If you like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer tales, then I think you will like this.

The other is a historical fiction account titled, Bullet Points. This is a murder mystery about a retired and widowed Los Angeles Police Officer, Russ Corbett, who moves back to his small home town in southeastern Kansas. He quickly finds himself involved in chasing a serial killer who is murdering some of Russ’ school classmates. The method used is a gunshot to the head, but no bullets are ever found in the victim.

My retirement is spent enjoying my family; wife, children and six grandkids. Personal pleasure comes from being a USO volunteer at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport, assisting troops and welcoming our heroes when they return from combat duty overseas. I like cruising, and occasionally am a guest lecturer on cruise ships in the subject matter of Personal Safety and Security.

Ron Corbin, PhD

Member of the Public Safety Writers Association (Winner of 2 Awards)

Member of the Wednesday Warrior Writers

Author of: “Beyond Recognition” - First Place Award Winner

Contributing Author of:

“We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (Anthology of Vietnam helicopter pilot stories)

“Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides” (Anthology of police stories)

“I Pledge Allegiance....” (Anthology of patriot and hero stories)

“True Blue--Police Stories by Those Who Lived Them” (Anthology of police stories)

“True Blue--To Protect and Serve” (Anthology of police stories)


Compared to other pilots in LAPD’s Air Support Division who had received their flight training from civilian instructors, Ron’s’ military training and Vietnam flying experience as a combat helicopter pilot goes beyond recognition. He immediately becomes the target of jealousy by the unit’s chief pilot, whose animosity leads him to do everything he can to undermine Ron’s skills.

After an aircraft accident that claims the life of Ron’s police pilot trainee, and one which puts Ron in the hospital with 70% burns, the Chief of Police assembles a Board of Inquiry into the cause of the accident. The chief pilot sees his opportunity to seek jealous revenge by feeding misleading and false statements to the investigators about Ron. The board’s investigation eventually turns into an exercise of “finger-pointing.”  But that quickly backfires as Ron exposes a department “cover-up” that has city attorneys scrambling to make a settlement with Ron and his trainee’s widow.

Available from Amazon.com and direct from Publisher.
Publisher: Oak Tree Press (2013)
ISBN 978-1-61009-070-4 ~~
Trade Paperback


Ron goes into great detail expressing his thought process, emotions, techniques used to evaluate and diagnose the various situations confronting him. Eventually, Ron was assigned to the Air Support Division as a helicopter pilot and later became an instructor. During a training session, Ron’s helicopter crashed killing his student pilot. Ron survived with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. It is hard to imagine the mental stress, pain and suffering he felt during his recovery in the burn center. Ron expresses his feelings on the emotional impact of the tragic accident, the findings of the Board of Inquiry, and the “CMA” attitude that various individuals had on him and his family.


Albert Ellis, FBI Special Agent - Retired 

"BEYOND RECOGNITION is a must read. 

If Michael Connelly or W. E. B. Griffin wrote non-fiction, you would think this is one of their books; however, it is Ron’s. I know, I have read this book once and can’t wait to read it again.  You will not put it down until you have worked your way to the last page, and then still want to know more."

Keith Bettinger, author of Fighting Crime With “Some” Day and Lenny, and End of Watch.