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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last of this year's medical checkups

Had my dental checkup this week--everything is in good shape. Gifted another complimentary copy of UNANNOUNCED to my dentist, and postcards to to her office staff.

Happy New Year to all!

UNANNOUNCED is available in print and Kindle editions at Amazon.com. Read it for a New Year's present to yourself.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Medical checkups - Complimentary books

This is medical checkup week for me. Saw my internist and my dermatologist and got a clean bill of health from each one. They both knew I was working on a novel, but both were surprised when I gave them complimentary signed copies of UNANNOUNCED. My charge to the doctors: tell everybody you know how much you like this book. Share my cards with your staff--medical people will love it.The dermatologist has been working on a screenplay for a while, so he especially appreciated seeing my novel published. I invited him to write a review after reading the book.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kindle edition of UNANNOUNCED released

Great news! The Kindle edition of UNANNOUNCED is available at Amazon.com as of today. I know that several readers have been waiting for Kindle release. At long last, it's here. It looks good to me--I put it on my own Kindle just to make sure everything works right. Enjoy the book and leave your comments on this page.

I'd also welcome a review of either edition, print or Kindle at my Amazon page.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New excerpt from UNANNOUNCED

Dr. Jonathan Harding has arrived in Boston to investigate an attempted infiltration of a large rehabilitation hospital by a man with a Middle Eastern appearance and an Arabic sounding name:

   "Jonathan Harding's flight arrived at Boston Logan Airport in the early afternoon on Friday. He picked up a car from the rental concession then headed for his waterfront hotel on Charles River Avenue at Tudor Wharf.

   Relaxed in an easy chair and weary from his travel day, he found the reports [from The Joint Commission] tedious.... He put the reports aside, pulled on a light weight half-zip sweater, and took the elevator down to the hotel lobby to find its casual out-of-doors restaurant on the wharf. The air was clean there, the evening warm. The restaurant's tables were arranged to give guests the sense of eating among the boats.

   The place triggered fond memories for Jonathan.... He smiled at seeing the many sailboats alongside motorized fishing craft docked in the harbor, all of them quiet at day's end. Nautical smells of salt water and sea creatures filled the air. Creaking masts, riggings blowing gently against wood and fiberglass, and the soft lapping of water against the vessels' hulls made relaxing music to his ears. The sun was low in a clear sky, brightening the entire harbor with a golden glow."

Follow Jonathan's further adventures in Boston, then in Detroit, Los Angeles, and Newton, New Jersey. The book is available at  https://www.createspace.com/3693879.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Progress at Amazon.com

Finally...the "Look Inside" feature at my Amazon.com listing for UNANNOUNCED has been activated. Adding "Look Inside" has taken a little longer than I expected, but today it is there! Viewers can now get an on-line preview of some interior parts of the book before buying it. The Kindle version is next to come--hope to get that version up soon to take advantage of holiday shopping.

Book signing scheduled

I've scheduled a book sale and author signing at the military exchange at Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio) for February 10 - 12. Working this week to secure some earlier author appearances--I'd like to get at least one before Christmas, but it looks like everybody's pretty much booked up. We'll see what I can do. Pounding the book selling pavement is a lot different from book writing. I prefer the writing. Anybody have ideas to make the selling more palatable?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marketing aids for UNANNOUNCED

Some marketing materials for UNANNOUNCED arrived from the printer today: Business cards, Bookmarks, Postcards. They all look great and feature the book's front cover. All of them should be useful tools for upcoming book signings. I'd welcome viewer suggestions for other uses. Tell me what you think in Comments (below).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

UNANNOUNCED now available in two locations

UNANNOUNCED continues to be available at Amazon. com, and the Kindle version is coming soon. You can now order it directly from https://www.createspace.com/3693879. Book sales are creeping upward at Amazon, but I'd like to see some activity at my Createspace e-store. The price is the same at both sites, but I get better royalties from Createspace.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Excerpt from UNANNOUNCED


September 2004, eastern Afghanistan
A
 tall, thin man known as the leader sat waiting in a dank earthen cave, one of many in the isolated and rugged mountain terrain of the region that is eastern Afghanistan, across the Khyber Pass from neighboring Pakistan. Only one other person waited with him, his body guard. The meeting for which they waited was particularly important to the leader’s cause. He expected great things to result…it was well worth the wait.
     Suddenly, without warning, a fusillade of gunfire muted the deep throated cheers of the men outside the cave. The loud ruckus was followed within seconds by the cacophony of leaden missiles raining down like hailstones on the rocks and the sparse vegetation.
     “Good,” the leader said, speaking in Arabic. “They are here. Allah be praised.” Waiting still, he sat cross-legged on a large pillow placed on the rich colors of woolen carpets that lined the room-sized cave’s packed earth floor. He had personally chosen the carpets for this particular cave, selected them to his own liking. Strong colors that gave the space a warm, harmonious feeling. Dark reds, greens, golden yellows, and whites tightly woven in geometric patterns, none of the patterns depicting life forms, some with Arabic calligraphy.
     Three pillows were evenly spaced in a semicircle near the center of the room, one on either side of the leader’s seat, each one placed to give the sitter a view of  the cave’s entrance. Between the pillows, a smaller rug served as a table. Finely woven silk in a different pattern, it was  positioned facing Mecca so it could easily become a prayer rug at the prescribed five times each day. Additional prayer rugs for visitors were rolled and stored at the back of the cave, accessible when needed, otherwise unobtrusive.
     The cave’s entry, bright with the hazy sunlight of an autumn morning, lighted the entire space well enough for the discussion ahead. Summer was waning. The air was cool at this time of year, but the tail end of the season’s monsoonal air currents from the Indian Ocean kept the humidity high.
     A small fire smoldered on a charred metal dish at one side of the cave, fueled by sun-dried animal dung. The flames warmed a metal teapot as their pungent smell rose sour and smoky over the damp air of the meeting room. The body guard, a thirtyish muscular man,  hovered nearby tending the fire, measuring the tea and sugar for the pot. He wore a light gray knee length tunic and matching trousers, with a skull cap, the qalansuwa, on his head. Not a boy at all, he took the role of tea boy for the upcoming summit.
     The waiting leader wore his usual clothing: a long and loose fitting, off-white tunic extending to his knees over loose fitting trousers of the same fabric. For this special meeting, he wore a gold brocade cloak over his tunic and trousers. Under it all he had concealed a bullet proof vest. In deference to the rocky terrain in which he lived and worked he wore low quarter boots. A Kalikov semi-automatic weapon rested across his lap, a memento given to him by a veteran of the years-earlier jihad against the Soviet invaders.
      The most prominent feature of the leader’s appearance was not his clothing. It was his dark, unkempt beard which extended from his face exactly half way down the front of his chest. A white turban over a close fitting skull cap covered his head, its long tail draping over one shoulder and flowing down his chest alongside his beard. Scraggly sideburns crept out from each side of his turban.
     The man’s face appeared pale and fine-featured, almost gentle. Nothing about his physical appearance hinted at his role as leader of a far-reaching organization dedicated to the destruction of western civilization.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UNANNOUNCED now available

I am happy to report that UNANNOUNCED is now available at Amazon.com. Amazon is offering free 72-hour shipping for a short time. Read it, love it and, if you like, write a review on Amazon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

UNANNOUNCED heads into the world

I have today approved the printed proof for UNANNOUNCED, and that's the final step. As of today the book is out of the incubator, published and ready for the entire world. I expect it to be available at Amazon.com in about a week, and in bookstores in four to six weeks. I'm working on Kindle and should have that venue up and running very soon.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Feedback invited

I welcome anything in the way of feedback readers may wish to add to these posts. (Be kind please!) Just click on "comment" below each post to add anything you wish to say. You'll have an opportunity to check spelling and preview your comment before publishing it for all posterity. Go for it.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another step in the right direction

The printer (CreateSpace) has accepted my corrections for UNANNOUNCED. I expect to see a new printed proof in a day or two. If everything then looks good the book is ready for publication.

Visited a book signing by fellow writer Rhiannon Frater at Barnes and Noble, La Cantera (San Antonio) last weekend. Many friends of her zombie stories gathered around the whole time I was there. Rhiannon and her group admired the proof copy of UNANNOUNCED.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To press! To press!

It's happened. The printed proof of Unannounced arrived two days ago, and it is beautiful. After two years of hard work, I now have a book to hold in my hands. Gratifying fruition of all my efforts. But hold on. You can't buy the book yet--not quite yet. The proof has a handful of minor errors that need correcting before the book is available to the world. Those are in progress right now, then I can present all of you with a perfect tome that you will enjoy reading. I guarantee it.

This great news has put finishing The Shallows on hold for a few days. More on that intriguing book later. In the midst of everything else I'm also reading an oldie (1980) that was recommended as the perfect example of a thriller: Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Announcing UNANNOUNCED!

I am happy to announce that the final print proof of Unannounced has been shipped to me! Within hours, after two years of work, I expect to have a book to hold in my hands. I've already done as much proofing as I can do without seeing the final printed product, and I don't anticipate much or anything in the way of further revisions. If that holds true, the novel will become available to everyone within days on Amazon.com. Meanwhile, I'm doing major revisions to a sequel called, Conditional, which I'm now structuring as the second of a Jonathan Harding / Peter Larsen trilogy. Stay tuned.





Internet and Superficiality

After a delayed start I'm about half way through Carr's The Shallows. He presents a detailed history of communication using words or symbols (alphabetic or other), taking us from Aristotle's dialogues, through stone carvings, papyrus scrolls, codices, finally to Gutenburg's movable type printing press and books. Then Carr leads us on to digitized words, the Internet and instant messaging. He meticulously points out how each of those progressions has changed human brain physiology (neuroplasticity) and, at this point in the book, he begins to analyze how today's multi-tasking, messaging, and Web browsing foretell losing the brain's ability to handle something he calls "deep reading" and moving toward superficiality. It's interesting that to get to this point in The Shallows I've had to do some pretty "deep reading." I look forward to learning where Carr is taking us in the second half of the book.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Internet Produces Superficiality

I came across an interesting sounding new book, The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. It reportedly tells of ways the instant communication vehicles of our information age, notably the internet, have led to superficiality of human knowledge. Fascinating thought. I'm downloading Carr's book to my Kindle today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Progress - Yea!

One more small step in the right direction: I upgraded to a higher level of editorial support at CreateSpace for my book's interior text file, then transmitted a new run of the  text file in PDF format. The ball is now in their court. I'm pleased that all is quiet now for twenty-four hours and my dashboard shows "In progress." There will be a finished book sometime soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Author website seminar

This morning I enjoyed a nice seminar in Austin sponsored by Writers' League of Texas: Shennandoah Diaz presented "Anatomy of An Author Website." Some of it confusing, all of it interesting and very helpful. I'm exploring that option as part of my platform building.

This afternoon I learned CreateSpace continues to have difficulty converting my submitted PDF text file for printing. Third strike for that method, so I guess I'm out. It's time to explore a higher level of editorial assistance with preparing my file for conversion--I'll kick that off by telephone on Monday morning. Rats! More time, more money. There really will be a book called Unannounced in the near future. I promise.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another step forward

One more small step forward--approved the final proof of the cover design  for Unannounced. Reduced the flare of the overhead surgical light shown in the first run, and slightly darkened the skin tones of the Arabic character peering out at the reader. Expect to learn any day that my interior design elements are acceptable for printing, then a final book proof will come for my absolutely final review and approval. After that: publication, at last.

I see this blog has had three hits from Austria. Must be son David and Lori. Welcome. Join the fun.

Also notice three hits from Russia. Welcome, enjoy. I'd like to know who you are. Comment to the blog or contact me through Facebook.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

UNANNOUNCED moves forward

Big progress today. Submitted the final PDF interior components of UNANNOUNCED. And, miracle of miracles, selected one of three cover design concepts sent for my review. Here's what the book cover will look like unless further changes come along. That seems unlikely at this point, so the book looks good to go. After everything is approved at CreateSpace and I have a look at some small refinements I requested in the cover design, it'll be time to work with the CS team to plan pricing, distribution and marketing. It's an exciting ride. Hang on.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ken Burns' PBS Documentary, Prohibition


Spent a couple of hours during  each of the last three nights enjoying Ken Burns' Prohibition on PBS. It's a great documentary from which I learned many things. I had no idea the women's liberation movement was so closely linked to both passage and repeal of prohibition. And what about the need to create an income tax to make up for revenue lost when prohibition was passed? I especially liked the dialogue bit that was something like, "...turned citizens into criminals and criminals into kings." Seems like we could learn a lot from the prohibition experience that might apply to today's anguish over illegal drugs.

Still waiting for feedback from my cover design team for Unannounced. Finished my interior book design and converted the whole thing to PDF format--ready for submission to the printer.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Self Publishing Seminar

Yesterday attended a seminar, Self Publishing The Right Way, sponsored in Austin by Writers' League of Texas and conducted by Rhiannon Frater, author of eight zombie-themed novels. Good seminar by a crazy lady. Provided much useful information. Frater asked that we all leave the seminar feeling empowered. I did. Her presentation convinced me that I'm doing all the right things to achieve publication of my own novel, Unannounced. I'm busy working with CreateSpace--waiting for their design team's draft of a cover design. I've finished my own design of the books interior material with one question about the font I've selected for the interior title page. Plan to telephone CS tomorrow for an answer before going final with conversion to PDF format for transmission to CS for printing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book cover design consultation

Telephone consultation with my cover design team sheduled for Wednesday 9/28. Hope to see their first drafts of prospective cover design which is based upon input I have provided. One day at a time....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Designing the book for publication

I'm working day and night this month preparing Unannounced for publication at CreateSpace. Consulting with the cover design team to work out a cover that reflects the theme and mood of the novel: hospitals, Islam, mosques, physician, FBI agent, threats, car bombs -- things like that.
I've decided to do my own interior design for the book: fonts, formatting, drop caps, fluons -- things like that. And those are the things that have me more busy than I wish to be these days. Busier than I wish, maybe, but I love it. It's a very exciting time. The result of two years of work on the novel itself.
We'll see how it all works out. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Okay, I'm back in the blogging business after spending two years writing and polishing my second medical thriller, Unannounced. As things have worked out, looks like this'll be the first one published and I expect that to happen real soon. Watch for it.
Unannounced is a fast moving thriller about a physician and an FBI agent who struggle together in three U.S. cities to unravel a scheme contrived in 2004 by Islamic jihadists from their base in Afghanistan. The jihadists hope to infiltrate American hospitals and gain a toehold in their battle to undermine Western culture. Dr. Jonathan Harding is a liberal-thinking physician who loathes the methods used by federal law enforcement agents to gather intelligence. He is also a hospital surveyor who works with The Joint Commission, a nationwide manager of hospital accreditation.
Arab-Americans posing as Joint Commission surveyors attempt to conduct several unannounced hospital surveys over a short time, and The Joint Commission assigns Dr. Harding to investigate. Jonathan soon discovers a solid link to Islam, and he fears terrorism. Reluctantly, he recruits FBI Special Agent Peter Larsen to help him unravel the mysterious events. The two explore hospitals and mosques in Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles and learn the surveyor-imposters were coached by imams who have subsequently fled to Pakistan.
Working with pragmatic, easy-going Peter completely reverses Jonathan's opinion of federal agents and their methods. After some disagreement, the two finally see eye-to-eye on enlisting the CIA to capture the runaway imams and interrogate them. A surprise ending reveals a startling new kind of grassroots attack devised by the jihadists from the caves of Afghanistan.