Saturday, September 26, 2015
I plan on being in Modale on October 24th for a book signing and brief talk about my two books, Hooligan from the Hills and Meet Hook. Kevin Holben will be there as well to discuss his music and sing some of his songs. My draft of Hooked Up is nearly complete; I may read a chapter of it if folks are interested. Details are still shaping up but right now it looks like we will be at the Town and Country Arts building at 7p.m.
Friday, September 11, 2015
I stayed home today to babysit Marsie, our new kitten. She and Friley, our first cat, are still struggling with sharing the house and needed extra supervision. Repeated little kitty pouncings forced me out of bed shortly after Sandy had left for work. It was only a little before 8, but I turned on the television anyway.
I wanted Sports Center but one of the news channels came up first. It was broadcasting live from New York. Apparently an aircraft had just crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I was stupified. A plane had to have been suffering severe mechanical failure to veer that far off course and strike that deep into Manhattan. I picked up a phone to call my office to let them know of the incident; reporters may be calling for information and my coworkers would need to be reminded of the PR office number. I glanced at the screen. It was now filled with a view of the tower, smoke getting heavier on the upper levels. As I picked up the phone's handset, I watched in disbelief as a large, twin-engine jet crashed into the other tower of the Center. I set the phone down and went numb. One crash is a tragic accident; two can only be a deliberate attack.
I finally made the call to the office. The news had not made it there yet. I expected my office to be better informed. I imagine Managers were monitoring the events; but, the troops at my level had been told nothing. I told a fellow radar engineer that our country was under attack. He asked if it was Middle-East terrorists or the Mid- West militias. It made me sick that we would even have to wonder.
I could hear Marsie munching at her food bowl - her third breakfast of the morning. She was oblivious to the act of war carried out with global televised coverage. The talking heads were stunned and audibly shaken. "Words cannot describe what have just witnessed." Many words followed. The Center employs nearly 50,000 people though no one was certain how many may have been inside. More importantly, though, was that the Dow Jones and New York Stock Exchange would be delaying their openings.
I turned all the TV's in the house on to different networks, hoping to glean nuggets of fact out of all the hear-say they were broadcasting. I held onto Friley. He didn't understand it, either, but he knew something was wrong. We watched the kitchen television bring us pictures of the fires growing out of control. Friley struggled free - even he had seen enough. The chaotic scene is described as resembling "a war zone." They don't get it yet - it's not a "resemblance," this was an act of war.
Marsie joined me in the living room as I scanned all the networks for anything of substance. Marsie crawled onto my shoulder and purred. Camera views shifted from the inferno at the towers to the Pentagon. A bomb, a helicopter, another airplane - all of those three were attributed to causing the smoke and carnage now emanating from headquarters of the world's strongest military force.
"Marsie" is short for Marston, the name of the building where I first studied engineering at Iowa State University. The building was named after Anson Marston, a civil engineer and former professor at ISU. I looked down at Marsie, now sleeping on my shoulder as one of the two towers of the World Trade Center collapsed from structural failure caused by the impact and subsequent fire damage. She stirred a little as the second tower came down upon itself and the hundreds of police, firefighters, and survivors below it. In 1973 no one foresaw such an extreme act of malice. Marston and I learned a little more today.
As I check on Friley, reports that the three airplanes were all hijacked begin to firm up. An "expert" who's name means little foreshadows that when we begin to analyze this day we will likely find how incredibly simple it was to orchestrate this attack. I wait for them to speak of the horror the passengers of these flights must have undergone before being sacrificed for the good of a "cause." I think of the airline employed "guards" manning the x-ray machines at the
terminal gates pulling down slightly more per hour than a drive-thru window cashier at any McDonalds, the airline ticket takers who won't even enforce carry-on baggage size limits, the baggage handlers mangling/stealing/losing luggage out on the airport ramps - is it really a question of how this happened or more of how did it not happen before now?
The FAA shut down all airports in the United States. A prudent move since own infrastructure has been used against us. The criticism for this action will likely come in a couple of days - people have been inconvenienced, after all. As Friley and I watch the split screen views of the rubble in Manhattan and the fire at the Pentagon, I notice the custom banner at the bottom of the screen: "America Under Attack." The graphics department does fast work. Or, maybe this
one was already in the can. Occasionally the cameras pan to the sky where F-15s and F-16s now orbit above New York and Washington. American Airlines (an intentional irony I am sure) has acknowledged that two of its airliners are missing. As Friley turns to look away I wonder what rules of engagement our Air Force has issued now that every airliner in the sky is a potential threat. A rumor of a fourth hijacked airplane is quickly disseminated as fact by all the news wires - it is allegedly on a path to the Pentagon. Friley lifts his head in heightened alert, his ears sweeping back and forth. Another plane has crashed, this time in a wooded area in Pennsylvania. Friley relaxes and goes back to sleep. The two minutes expire with no planes other than our own fighter jets ever getting near the Pentagon. I feel sympathy for those fighter pilots; it would be difficult to have to fire on a domestic passenger 'liner.
As Marsie heads for her litter box one of my least favorite news anchors says that there have been several groups claiming responsibility for the attack though none he deemed credible enough to air. Later, he would announce in excruciating detail the location of the President, Vice-President, Secretaries of State and Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several congressional leaders. He also does frequent updates of movements of our battle ships and an aircraft carrier along the east coast. Some of our national leadership were going to "undisclosed locations," which seemed to irritate all of the news teams. However, an update was promised.
Thousands have certainly died today but there has been little speculation on just how many. As my little ones both sleep the speculation as to "which known terrorist organization" may have had the ability to plan and execute such a brazen attack. "Which known terrorist organization." "Which" meaning there are several. "Known" implying there may be others yet to surface. "Terrorist" - well, terrorists are just a cowardly minority seeking publicity for "causes" that can't be trumpeted using any form of logic; today they have succeeded. "Organization" - today, "organization" has taken on a new dimension. I fear the vermin responsible have acted on behalf of God. I have never imagined that God would be so intolerant that He would want people killed rather than taught.
Marsie is fast asleep, oblivious to the magnitude of this morning's events. She is just a thirteen-week-old Siamese kitten. Friley is nine, middle-aged by cat standards, and doesn't comprehend the day, either. As I look at them I feel sad. Sad not just for the thousands of lives that were and are irreparably altered, but for all the parents and teachers today who will have to try to explain the unexplainable events of today to our children.
Friday, August 07, 2015
Currently working on my next book. This one features Hook, Patch, Jimmy, Stanley, and Nik again. Oh, and Dea and Samantha, too. I'm nearly finished with the first draft. It's tentatively titled Hooked Up.
When I'm not staring at a computer screen trying to entice the story to trickle through my keyboard I try to keep up with some of my favorite authors. I'm caught up with all three of Barbra Annino's series (Stacy Justice, The Everafter trilogy, the Goddesses series). I've started reading Janet Evanovich's Fox and O'Hare series. Lately I've been binge reading Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series. And I'm slowly getting to Joel Goldman's mysteries and thrillers set in Kansas City.
Keep reading and buy another copy of Meet Hook to give to a friend ;)
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Thursday, July 02, 2015
If you can't join Kevin and I at the fair, Hooligan from the Hills: Growing Up Ornery in Iowa's Loess Hills is available at http://www.lulu.com/jdsqrd
For the Hook fans, I'm about 75% finished with the draft of the next book. It should answer some of the questions you may have - and spark a few new ones.
I still have a few signed copies of Meet Hook. They are $17 with $5 going to the Kansas City Pet Project. Send me a message if you want one.
Unsigned paperbacks and ebook versions of Meet Hook are still available online at most places including:
Books-A-Million (BAM!): http://bit.ly/1GWY7Jb
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Friday, May 29, 2015
A minor part of Meet Hook is the bike-share program B-cycle. This is a real thing in Kansas City. Although Hook is a bit of a slacker, even he recognizes that sometimes riding a bike is the easiest way to get around Downtown, Westport, and the Plaza. Personally, I've seen several of the bike racks when I walk around Downtown during my lunch hours but I've yet to ride one of the bikes. More info may be found here: https://kansascity.bcycle.com/home.aspx
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Here are links to the ones with which most people familiar:
Books-A-Million (BAM!): http://bit.ly/1GWY7Jb
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
I mentioned in a previous post that Meet Hook is set in Kansas City and uses a mix real, fictitious, and occasionally defunct locations. At last year's Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City Race for the Cure I was able to point out a few of these places to friends and family walking with Sandy and me since the route went through neighborhoods mentioned in the story. Hook's home (the Western Auto Building) and Wild Bill's Bar and Grill (still closed) were two places we "ran" past.
One organization referenced early in the book is extremely important to the story and is very much a real place: The Kansas City Pet Project. Two of our kitties are rescues so it was important to me that Hook's sidekick be adopted from a shelter as well. The KC Pet Project is a no-kill shelter and does outstanding work. See their website (http://kcpetproject.org/) for more information on adopting a pet or making a donation.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
A cop who isn’t a cop. Kidnappers who aren’t kidnappers. Mobsters who aren’t mobsters. And a lady in distress who’s neither a lady nor in distress.
Meet Hook, his small circle of “friends”, and his one-eyed cat, Patch, as they navigate the streets of Kansas City while trying to not fall prey to crazy drivers, the local authorities, or a psychotic ex-girlfriend.