Google+ Followers

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tech Blunders and Good Manners

Here's an interesting commentary on technology and etiquette published by Therese Poletti. Think about this commentary when making your own New Year's Resolutions:

10 tech blunders to avoid in 2013
By Therese Poletti
Dec 20, 2012 09:57:33 (ET)
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Paul Saffo, Silicon Valley's leading futurist, recently described the current wave of technology as having gone through a transition from "personal" as in the personal computer, to "intimate" with the proliferation of smartphones,
But this intimacy -- having a camera phone and a connection to the Internet in your pocket -- is fueling increasingly annoying behavior.
Chip giant Intel Corp. has even been conducting studies on mobile etiquette. In September, it released a study that found a lot of "oversharing."
"At least six out of 10 adults and teens said they believe other people divulge too much information about themselves online, with Japan being the only exception," Intel said. Read Intel's most recent mobile etiquette survey.

This column visited the issue of smartphone etiquette over two years ago. But I regret to inform you that it appears personal behavior is getting even worse, in no small part to oversharing on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
 
So here are 10 tech blunders to avoid next year:

No more photos of food in restaurants. Sorry, but I don't really care about your tower of pommes frites, your perfectly braised steak au poivre or your pan-seared sea bass. Photos of food, especially via Instragram, need to stop. I bet I am not the only one sick of food porn.

Check-ins via FourSquare or status updates at airports detailing your destinations, especially exotic locations like Fiji, so that all your friends will be jealous. Perhaps these people do deserve to get robbed after telling their 1,000 Facebook friends they are on their way out of town for a three-week vacation.
 
Close-up photos of skin problems or other health issues posted in social media, in an effort to "crowd source" a diagnosis or to get sympathy from friends about an illness. Please, just go to the doctor.

Sharing whatever you are listening to over Spotify. Do we really need to learn that so-and-so is listening to Bob Dylan, The Smiths, Britney Spears or Lady Gaga? Often, instead of getting ideas of new music to listen to from our friends, we end up privately laughing at them, or thinking their music choices are pathetic. Just keep your music selections to yourself.

Stop sending massive email attachments, especially over corporate email systems. Many people think everyone welcomes a one megabyte photo or larger of their new baby, grandson, home or pet. Public relations people are the worst, often sending giant attachments, instead of just linking to a website. Stop this rude behavior now.
 
This is a no-brainer and has been complained about ad infinitum. But it is worth reminding everyone that you should never post drunken photos, photos of yourself chugging booze, in a drinking contest, looking drunk, or out of it. As has been written before, it is very hard to delete photos from social media, and recruiters often search social media to learn more about potential candidates. The same goes for status updates or tweets about being wasted.

Sending messages to individuals on Twitter in public that really should be private messages, or having public arguments over Twitter. Some self-aggrandizing types seem to think that everything they do should be chronicled and scrutinized over Twitter. We don't care.

Stop acting like the smartphone is the center of your world. Do you really need to check your email, play a game, update your Facebook status, or send a tweet every minute of the day? Some people even admit to sleeping with their smartphones. A smartphone is an electronic device, not a spouse. Wake up and look at the world around you.

Be considerate of others when using your mobile phone or tablet. Do not speak loudly in public, text or surf the Web while driving. If you have to make a phone call or send a text, please excuse yourself and leave the room, conversation or meeting. Read more about mobile manners from the Emily Post Institute.

Stop taking up room on public transportation with your laptop-laden backpack, which remains on your back while you stand in the middle of the subway or bus. Or the clueless riders whose mobile offices occupy a seat while fellow commuters are forced to stand. Make room for others and put the bag at your feet. San Francisco is full of arrogant people whose giant bags hog public transport space and I am betting other cities have similar incidents of people with no manners.

For a New Year's resolution in 2013, please try to think about your actions before you type, click, or share.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stocking Stuffers - Free E-Books

Here's an opportunity for all you last minute holiday shoppers: I'm offering free promotional downloads of the Kindle edition of both CONDITIONAL and UNANNOUNCED on Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22. Treat your favorite Kindle device to a Merry Christmas indeed by downloading either novel from Amazon.com free of charge during those two days. If you've been very good, your Kindle might even let you enjoy the books yourself. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Books in Amazon Prime Lending Library

Both UNANNOUNCED and CONDITIONAL are now enrolled in the Amazon Prime Lending Library. Prime members may borrow the Kindle edition of either book free of charge and keep it for as long as they like. Amazon allows one free book loan a month, and members can have only one book at a time. Check out the Lending Library at Amazon.com and enjoy an exciting medical thriller about some things that went off course in a few hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission.




Saturday, December 1, 2012

Plaza Book Club Event


George and a few members of the Book Clubs
Discussion of the fiction writing craft and CONDITIONAL in particular at San Antonio's Plaza Club was exciting. In addition to the Plaza Book Club, several members of a book club based at the Cody Branch of San Antonio Public Library attended. Everyone enjoyed a great dinner with butternut squash bisque, an entree of salmon or chicken, followed by a delicious peach cobbler. Quite a few questions about the book and about creative writing generated a lively discussion during and after dinner. The entire evening was enhanced by stunning views of the city's holiday lights from the twenty-first floor downtown penthouse club. George signed copies of CONDITIONAL for a few members, others had downloaded the Kindle edition prior to the meeting.

George discussing his books with the group





Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Club Discussion

I've accepted an invitation to discuss CONDITIONAL and sign copies of the print edition at a dinner meeting of the Plaza Book Club held at San Antonio's Plaza Club on Thursday evening, November 29. I hope that event might be the first of many future presentations for groups of book lovers.

Monday, November 19, 2012

THANK YOU!

Thanks to all you Kindle readers who downloaded CONDITIONAL during last Saturday's free promotional day. Enjoy the book and let me know what you think of it. If you love it, tell all your friends. If you feel like writing a short review on Amazon I'd really appreciate that, too.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Book Available For One Day

The Kindle edition of Conditional will be available for download from amazon.com absolutely free as a one-day promotion on Saturday, November 17. Kindle readers, don't miss this chance to enjoy a medical thriller about life-threatening conflict between a greed-driven, sociopathic hospital executive and a team of accreditation surveyors. This offer is separate from the Amazon Prime Lending Library borrowing opportunity--you will own the copy you download on November 17.





Monday, November 12, 2012

GRANDDADDY'S GOLD WATCH

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 5 of  Hush, Boy, my novel in progress. The narrator is a five-year old boy growing up in the deep South and trying with all his might to be grown-up and to make his grandfather love him:

    As a boy, I usually steered clear of Granddaddy, but I wondered a lot about his gold pocket watch. I knew about that watch ’cause Mama had told me it was worth a lot of money, but I didn’t get to see it much…just a glimpse now and then. Sometimes, if I was playing in the front yard in the late afternoon when Granddaddy had his one-a-day Gin Rickey on the front porch, I’d notice him look at his gold watch to see if it was supper time yet. He always kept that watch in his vest pocket with the shiny gold chain draped over to one of the buttonholes.

Real early one Sunday morning, a little while before breakfast, I was alone in the living room with Granddaddy, readin’ the Sunday paper. At least, Granddaddy was reading—I couldn’t read, but I liked to look at the funnies. When I heard Granddaddy fold up the front section and put it down, I jumped up from the papers I’d spread out on the floor…got up quick so I could get out of there in a hurry if Granddaddy was mad about something.

I watched real close while Granddaddy pulled the gold watch out of his vest pocket and pressed on the button to make its cover pop open like a seashell. “Come over here, Jonathan,” he said. “Let me show you this watch.” He held out the gleaming seashell and unfastened the golden chain so I could hold the watch. “Take it in your hands—be careful, now. This watch was the very best timepiece of its day. Look here, you see that second hand goin’ round…I used that little hand to time the trains right down to the second.”

“Time the trains? Why’d you do that, Granddaddy?”

“Timin’ the trains was part of my job. Southern Railway gave me this watch…gave it to me a long time ago when I was the telegrapher at the station in Waverly Hall. That’s where I met Eva, your grandma. Waverly Hall. Her family lived there…she was a pretty thing, prettiest young girl in town.” He smiled. Granddaddy actually smiled. “Those were real good times for Eva and me—a long time before all the trouble started. You can go ahead and close the watch. Just squeeze it easy…not too hard, now.”
 
    I squeezed the watch to close it and the lid clicked shut soft as a whisper. I turned it over and looked at the back, and I saw something engraved there. I couldn’t read the fancy letters, but I knew it was s’posed to be Granddaddy’s initials. I held the watch to my ear and listened to the ticking, then smiled at Granddaddy and pressed the stem to make the lid pop open again. Gently, very gently, I returned the watch to the safekeepin’ of his grown-up hands. Holding that gold watch and talkin’ to Granddaddy like that made me feel a lot different, made me feel somethin’ I’d never felt before. Maybe what the Dutch Baby told me was true. Maybe Granddaddy really did love me after all…or maybe it was all just pretend. He never did say the words.

Monday, November 5, 2012

CONDITIONAL On AmazonPrime Lending Library

Good news for members of AmazonPrime! The Kindle edition of CONDITIONAL is now available for free lending to Prime members. Download it, enjoy it, keep it as long as you like. Not a member of AmazonPrime? Check out Amazon.com and discover how to join.

This free lending availability will continue for ninety days. Purchases of the Kindle edition are also possible in the usual way during that time. The print edition is unchanged. I do plan to offer free promo owned Kindle downloads for a few randomly-selected days during the Lending Library opportunity. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THE VIENNESE CAPER - Part II

Part I followed our adventures in Vienna through  September 19 (See earlier Post, October 8.)

September 20, Thursday: After a late breakfast at home including  lots of outstanding coffee from David’s complicated coffee robot along with cheeses, wurst, und brot, the four of us set out by Strassenbahn for the Kunsthistoriches Museum to see its amazing collection of paintings by Bruegel, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velasquez and many, many more.

   After the art we had cappuccino in the restaurant at the Kunsthistoriches Museum.

   Then, guided by David’s I-Phone, we found our way to the U-Bahn for a trip across the Donau (Danube) and an in-depth tour of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the United Nations. The agency is an amazing collection of exciting modern architecture, and we had the added excitement of IAEA's General Conference of all member nations, which was happening during the same week. David toured us through his office and the labs of some of his associates, then we schlepped through the exhibits of some of the attending nations at the General Conference. Along the way David revealed that he’s the “Neutron Expert” on IAEA’s staff who advises the teams of international inspectors what to look for and how best to do it. Fascinating stuff.
 
     Home from the U.N. by U-Bahn plus a long, long walk. I opted out of the rest of the afternoon in favor some horizontal rest time. Roxie, David, and Lori set out again via S-Bahn to The Belvedere, a palace and art museum with a world class collection of Gustav Klimt paintings. I did walk around Lori and David’s neighborhood for a few photos while the others were out.
 
     Dinner was spectacular. A short S-Bahn ride and a quick walk to a Russian restaurant, Feuervogel, where the outgoing and very friendly proprietor easily convinced us to allow him to plan our dinner for four. Well, he did a great job: three huge courses and way too much vodka later we struggled out of there for the S-Bahn ride home. Stuffed and totally satisfied, we slept soundly.

September 21, Friday: I didn’t tell the others, but I had a little bit of vodka hangover this morning. Roxie and I went shopping  with Lori who needed flowers and a few other things for the evening’s  guests. She walked us nearly to death in the area of Judenplatz.  

Afterward we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at a nearby place called Brezl-Gwölb,described in its web site as Alt Wiener Küche, three hundred years old—and we’d attest to the truth of both claims.


Roxie and I really liked the cream of pumpkin soup infused with pumpkin oil, which I learned was squeezed from the seeds, then I had the penultimate Wiener Schnitzel. All excellent. After lunch we wandered back to Stephensplatz for the U-Bahn back to the 9th District and home.

In the evening Lori and David entertained a group of their friends in honor of our visit , mostly folks from IAEA. After drinks, snacks, and good conversation, game night began. We were all assigned to teams of two to guess, then bet on the right answers to some very difficult questions—something like Trivia on steroids. I had several opportunities to talk about my books and distribute my cards. The whole evening was lots of fun, and everybody left in a happy mood, all of us vowing to do it again next year.

 September 22, Saturday:  A quiet day for all of us: Lori working on German homework, David catching up on computer things and sharing some good conversation with me, Roxie and me packing for the next day’s travels. David and Lori gave me a set of miniature pots from New Mexico’s Jemez Pueblo—pots made by the granddaughter of their late friend Becky, a Jemez native, under the careful eye of her grandmother.

   In the evening the three of us walked and walked in dripping rain to search for an open neighborhood restaurant. Apparently many restaurants in Wien are closed on Saturday. After a lot of wet walking, we finally found a typical Austrian neighborhood place, dimly lit, smoky with a very friendly and outgoing wait staff. I had that interesting cream of pumpkin soup with added pumpkin oil, then yet another huge Vienna Schnitzel with the Viennese version of Kartoffelsalat,  altogether delicious but a lot more food than I could manage.
   
   Before an early bedtime, we ordered a taxi for airport transport early the next morning.

September 23, Sunday:  The taxi driver rang the bell right on the money at 8:15 AM. Traffic was thin on Sunday morning, so the trip was quick. Flughafen Wien was packed with a maddening crowd, but we managed to locate the correct check-in counter after some confusion and a little difficulty. Then, free of most of our luggage, we followed a very long course to our departure gate. Up and down several escalators, a quick pass through immigration, then a long, long walk and there we were. As we expected, David and Lori’s friend Jim, whom we’d met at Friday’s game night, was at the gate when we arrived—he was taking the same flight as us, heading to a meeting in Savannah. We had time for good conversation and a cup of coffee before heading down yet another escalator and boarding the B-767 for our flight to Washington Dulles. Roxie and I were flying in economy class, but we got lucky and had the center section of three seats all to ourselves. Unfortunately, the video consoles in our row were on the fritz, so we were left with airline music, Kindles, and smart phone backgammon. Sleep was elusive.

    We expected a four hour delay at Dulles, but things went from bad to worse because our outbound flight was very late arriving, and the delay was more like six hours before our direct flight took off. We finally got to San Antonio shortly after 11 PM—a tiring epilogue to a long intercontinental flight.
***
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Festival This Weekend!

CONDITIONAL will be at Church of Reconciliation's Fall Festival this weekend for show and sign. The Festival promises to be an exciting event. Be sure to come by and pick up an author-signed copy of the book. If you want UNANNOUNCED as well, both books will be available at the Festival.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Signing at Lackland Air Force Base

Last weekend's book discussion and signing at Lackland AFB's main exchange was exciting and very successful. Military members and retirees stopped by the book table to talk about CONDITIONAL, and many purchased a signed copy.























A surprising number of the newly graduated class of basic military trainees shopped at the BX along with their visiting families from all over the U.S. A few of the graduates and many of their families bought copies of CONDITIONAL or UNANNOUNCED--some even bought both, and others promised to download the Kindle version from Amazon.com. Thanks, Lackland, for a good weekend.
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

THE VIENNESE CAPER – Part I


September 16, Sunday:  Roxie and I arrived Flughafen Wien in the late afternoon via Austrian Air from Moscow. Arrival was about ninety minutes later than planned because of a flight delay in Moscow.
 
 
My son, David, was patiently waiting outside customs as expected. Taxi to the 9th District, Pramergasse 1/11, where my daughter-in-law, Lori, was waiting at their fourth floor apartment. Beautiful apartment, nicely decorated by Lori—huge rooms with fifteen foot ceilings, comfortable furnishings: living room, dining room, a studio for Lori’s painting, a study for David which doubles as a guest bedroom with an adjoining bath. Large L-shaped hallway leads to the master bedroom and an adjoining full bath near the front entrance. Lori had prepared a big pot of goulash and spätsle for which Roxie and I had little appetite after our tough travel day.

 September 17, Monday: David needed a day of work at IAEA, so Lori took us into the 1st District via Strassenbahn #9, which stops a half block from their apartment and continues down the Ringstrasse past Parliament, Rathaus, and many other sights.

 

 
We exited the scenic ride at the Opera. A walk around that imposing building on the Ringstrasse allowed us to discover the house schedule for the days we’d be in Wien. Some negotiating at the box office produced the last four tickets for a mid-week performance of Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani. Walked on from there past the Albertina Museum to Michaelsplatz for a look at the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner stallions. The school was closed for some special occasion, but we did view a short video of a performance to get an idea of what might be in store at some future time.


            We walked back to Stephenskirche, continued past a colorful flower shop in Stephensplatz, then on to a charming restaurant Lori had chosen for lunch. We each had variations on pasta with mushroom sauce. Coincidentally, four of her friends were in the restaurant at the same time so we had a short chat with them after our great lunch. Back to Stephensplatz from where we took the Unterbahn to head home. Two U-Bahn trains and a long walk later we were back at Pramergasse.


The four of us took dinner at the next-door Restaurant Rembetika, a Greek place whose owner received us like longtime friends. I washed down the tasty Greek lamb kebabs with a glass of Retsina. Finally to bed. Dog tired, I fell asleep instantly and slept soundly.

September 18, Tuesday: Lori had a German class this morning, so David took us around by Strassenbahn and much walking to see some of his favorite sights, which included a way-off-the-beaten-path beer house where we had an huge lunch of beer and schnitzel. David ordered some kind of roasted pig’s foot which we all shared, but we still had a big chunk of pork to wrap in foil and carry home. After more S-Bahn and lots more walking we stopped at David’s  idea of “the best little coffee house in Wien,” a place called KIeines Café. Good coffee, but no better than his own coffee “robot” at home.
 

Our evening at the opera was fantastic. Verdi in modern setting and modern costume is a little startling at first, but everything falls in place quickly. I’d never seen I Vespri Siciliani before, so it was a special treat in a very special opera house. Because our seats were the last available in the house, Roxie and I sat separately from David and Lori, but we all had good seats. After the opera we walked across the street to the Hotel Sacher for Sachertorte and coffee. Yum! Home by a late night Strassenbahn.

September 19, Wednesday: David went exploring with Roxie and me while Lori did a pile of homework for her German class. Back to the 1st District via Strassenbahn #9 to the Albertina Museum. It was a rainy day, so we had to deal with umbrellas. The Albertina had the largest collection of works by Albrecht Durer that I’ve ever seen in one place—even in Munich which is practically his home town. The Albertina also includes a huge guest apartment provided by the Hapsburg monarchs for their visitors. The apartment was furnished in a grand style that challenged the palaces we'd recently toured in Saint Petersburg.


The rain stopped, and we met up with Lori in Stephensplatz. The four of us took an overview bus tour of the city with individual audio devices (in English) to guide us. The tour gave a fine overview of the city including the park which houses the giant Ferris wheel featured in the film, The Third Man. After that we briefly crossed the River Donau (Danube) and had a glimpse of David’s workplace, the IAEA of the UN. More about IAEA later.


Our tour bus stopped for a while at the amazing Hundertwasser Haus, a complex of apartments, bars, and shops designed by a weird architect named Hundertwasser. Judging from his extreme designs, he must have been a fan of Salvador Dali. After the tour, home again via U-Bahn from Stephensplatz.

           We enjoyed dinner at a small restaurant said to be typical and outstanding  Austrian style. Called Stomach, the place required reservations. Extremely slow service, but excellent food.  Lori ate a huge plate of steamed mussels, the other three of us had veal medallions in a complex brown sauce with lots of mushrooms and spiced up with red wine. Roxie had a minor fall over an unexpected step-up when leaving the dinner table. Fortunately he had no significant injury, and we walked home and fell exhausted into bed for another solid night of Viennese sleep.

 
 
TO BE CONTINUED...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Home From Russia and Austria--Back to Writing

Home again after a fantastic trip: Rivercruise in Russia from Saint Petersburg to Moscow and every town and village between the two. Following that, a great week in Vienna with my son David and daughter-in-law Lori, both experienced and excellent tour guides for a beautiful city. The Viking Rivercruise was so thrilling, we've signed up for another one next fall: Footsteps of the Cossacks, sailing from Odessa on the Black Sea to Kiev in central Ukraine. Viking earned our five-star rating for the Russia experience. All in all, the trip provided a likely setting for some future novel.

Okay, I'm back at work now on my opus magnus, HUSH BOY. So far the novel has recounted the trials and tribulations of a curious boy growing up in the deep South of the U.S. It's a prequel to my previous medical thrillers, following the early life of Dr. Jonathan Harding. The boy, Jonathan, is full of questions--questions about race, questions about sex, questions about life. The adults around him are unable or unwilling to answer his questions. All he gets is hush, boy--we don't talk about that!

Stay tuned. I'm looking toward late summer 2013 for release of HUSH, BOY. Meanwhile, you can read about Jonathan's adult adventures in UNANNOUNCED and CONDITIONAL. Check the sidebar on the right side of this page for their availability.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Touring Vienna and IAEA

Fantastic to see the performance at Vienna Opera. Busy days continue with much touring of the fine sights of a wonderful city. Overview audio-bus tour of the whole city yesterday following a half day in the Albertina Museum. Biggest collection of the works of Albrecht Durer I've ever seen in one place. Today, a half day at the Kunsthistoriche Museum with its amazing collections of paintings by Bruegel, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velasquez and many, many more.

Today's highlight was an in-depth tour by my son, David, of his workplace, the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the United Nations. An amazing collection of exciting modern architecture plus the excitement of IAEA's General Conference of all member nations, which is happening this week.

Roxie, David, and Lori are off right now to another art museum at The Belvedere to view the paintings of Gustav Klimt. I'm sitting this one out to rest up for dinner at a highly recommended Austrian restaurant. Last night's feast at a wonderful Russian restaurant, complete with way too much vodka, will be hard to beat, but I'm willing to try....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moscow to Vienna!

River cruise in Russia ended with a few days in Moscow. A day's tour of that thoroughly modern city included exploration of Red Square and Moscow University followed by a nighttime boat tour of Moscow River and some adjoining canals. Enjoyed an evening performance of Don Quixote at the Bolshoi. When you see the Bolshoi at home you know you've seen ballet. Finished with a half-day walking tour of the Kremlin.

Flight from Moscow to Vienna was tedious because of an unplanned three-hour flight delay and a maddening afternoon in Moscow's overcrowded airport, all aggravated by three gate changes before we were finally airborne for Vienna.

Today begins a wonderful visit with my son and his wife. Lori gave us a fine introduction to the city with walking visits to the Opera and the Spanish Riding School and all the sights of Vienna's central district. We were lucky enough to get the last four available seats for Tuesday night's performance of Verdi's I Vespri Siciliana at the Opera. Looking forward to a grand week in this great city.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cruising in Russia

On board Viking Truvor today, sailing between Saint Petersburg and Moscow--at the moment (Saturday noon in Russia) the ship has just passed through a lock and entered Lake Onega. Saint Petersburg was a great experience: a full day's tour of The Hermitage, half day visits outside the city to the Palace of Catherine the Great and to Peterhof, home of Catherine's grandfather, Peter the Great, then touring the city itself by motor coach and by canal boat. Plenty of canals here and lots of great sights. Fantastic food and good accommodations on board Truvor--and I have Internet access, thus this post is coming to you from  Russia. Later today we've scheduled a small town visit to a banya, Russian style sauna complete with birch twigs for pounding the skin!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Heading to Russia and Austria

I expect to be out of touch with this site until September 24, then I'll fill everybody in on a what promises to be a wonderful trip to Russia and Austria: a river cruise in Russia on board Viking Truvor between Saint Petersburg and Moscow with time in the cities on each end and visits to towns and sights along the way. Among other things I've booked a full-day extended tour of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.

From Moscow I'm flying to Vienna for a visit with my son and daughter-in-law. It's been a long time since I was in Vienna, so it'll be not only a family visit, but also re-visiting some of the places I've admired in the past.

I plan to collect lots of photos and notes that may become a Russia-based novel sometime in the future. Stay tuned. Paka!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

HUSH, BOY -- Opening Words

 Here are the opening paragraphs of the novel I'm working on right now. The young boy who narrates the story presents a prologue to the later life of Dr. Jonathan Harding, protagonist of my medical thrillers. 

    I felt like I was a lot older than five. With nobody else my own age around, it  was the only way I could feel. I tried to act older. Every time I thought about it, which was most of the time, I wanted to be older like Madge and her brothers. Madge was five years older than me. Whenever she’d let me, I chased after her and her friend Rebecca, who lived across the road. Those two were always doin’ things together, and most of the time they’d let me tag along—it didn’t matter to them that I was a boy. Some days, when they did girl things like playin’ with their dolls, I’d go home and look for something more fun. And sometimes, when they didn’t want me around at all, they’d send me home. 
    Madge was my aunt, my mother’s youngest sister, but she always seemed more like my own sister. I could tell Madge loved me by the way she acted. She usually called me Jon, instead of my full name, Jonathan, and she was always tellin’ me what to do and what not to do, telling me in a good way. Teachin’ me, not fussin’ at me.

   They all loved me, everybody at the farm did…except maybe Granddaddy. He always called me Jonathan, and I didn’t know about him. I was never really sure whether he loved me or not. He never told me he loved me. He never hugged me like Mama did, and he pushed me away if I tried to climb up on his lap or put my arm around his shoulders.
    But, it wasn’t that way at all with Mama. I knew for sure she loved me. In addition to everything else, she even saved my life one day—saved me from a big old rattlesnake. I’d heard there were plenty of rattlers in south Georgia, and I knew we had some of ’em on the farm. but I didn’t know any of ’em were big as that one I ran into.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Novel in Progress

I'm working every day on a new novel called HUSH, BOY. This book is a one-eighty departure from my two medical thrillers--I'm writing about a curious boy growing up in the deep South of  the United States and not finding answers to questions that were important to him. Yes, there are strong overtones of autobiography, but the book is a work of fiction. Think of a twist on J.D. Salinger called "Catcher in the Peanut Patch" or  "Holden Caulfield in South Georgia." Think John Irving. Any of those will give you a whiff of this coming of age novel. I'm targeting spring 2013 to release HUSH, BOY. Maybe I'll post an except from time to time as the work progresses.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Signed Books Available at The Twig

I've left a small number of signed copies of the books, both UNANNOUNCED and CONDITIONAL, at The Twig Bookshop. Stop by and get them while supplies last. The Twig is located in San Antonio's Pearl Brewery complex on East Grayson Street.



Monday, July 30, 2012

Successful Day at The Twig!

CONDITIONAL's book signing at The Twig Bookshop in San Antonio's Pearl Brewery complex was a great success. Crowds of people attended the Saturday Farmers' Market and many of them browsed at The Twig afterward. A number of the browsers as well as several friends who came especially for the book signing bought signed copies of the book. A nice treat was that several also bought my prior novel, UNANNOUNCED. They're all heading for good summer reads!

After the book event, I had lunch at The Sandbar with a couple of friends. Excellent--a few oysters on the shell followed by the world's tallest crab cake sandwich, all with a very nice Pinot Grigio.

Thanks to everyone for making it a very nice day.





Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bored? A Fun Saturday Is Coming Up!

This Saturday, July 28 can be more fun than you've ever imagined. The regular Saturday market at San Antonio's Pearl Brewery complex on E. Grayson St. is operating at summer hours. Come early and shop among the amazing offerings from area farmers and ranchers.

Then drop by The Twig Bookshop in the Pearl complex between 10 AM and 1 PM for George's discussion and signing of his new novel, CONDITIONAL. Have you noticed how greed can become a lethal weapon in the hands of powerful persons? Have you wondered what goes on behind closed doors in hospitals? This medical thriller pairs a physician and an FBI agent collaborating to resolve medical mayhem triggered by a sociopathic hospital CEO.

After the book signing, a great finale for your adventure would be lunch at one of The Pearl's fine restaurants. See you Saturday!



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gala Debut For CONDITIONAL!

A gala reception at San Antonio's Petroleum Club last evening celebrated the release and widespread availability of CONDITIONAL. Guests enjoyed good food and drink in pleasant surroundings and the author read excerpts from the novel. Sales of author signed copies of the book were brisk.






Thursday, July 12, 2012

Big Events Coming Up!

Now that you've met CONDITIONAL's principal characters, it's time to get your hands on the book itself. This month includes two very special opportunities to do that.

Fifty invited guests will enjoy a Book Release Celebration at San Antonio's Petroleum Club on Monday evening, July 16.

Everybody can enjoy the Saturday Farmers-Ranchers Market at San Antonio's Pearl Brewery complex on July 28, followed by a book signing and discussion for CONDITIONAL at The Twig Bookshop, also at The Pearl, from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Another character--Hello, Wendell Robertson

Wendell is the third and final member of the hospital accreditation team at work in CONDITIONAL. He is a fifty-six year old hospital administrator, tall and lanky, almost Lincolnesque in appearance. He combs his salt-and-pepper hair straight back over his head with no part.

During the team's exit briefing "Wendell stretched his long-legged frame up from his chair to present a summary of his findings. His understated middle-American clothing underscored his down-to-earth personality: navy blue two-button suit, white shirt with a spread collar, an abstract patterned necktie."

"Wendell knew how to be diplomatic. Before joining The Joint Commission he had succeeded in a number of health care executive positions, including a stint as CEO of a sizable general hospital in Kansas City.  He took [Jonathan] by the arm. 'Hold on there, Doc. You just did a bang up job managing a tough survey--especially that son-of-a-bitch Sullivan. You've got plenty of time to get home. Let's all get a drink to celebrate the end of a bad week.'"

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Back To The Characters -- Meet Lynn Dumain

Lynn Dumain, BSN, MSN works alongside Dr, Jonathan Harding in the Dallas hospital surveys which lead them both into big time trouble. She works closely with Special Agent Peter Larsen to untangle the hospital mayhem while he gets to the bottom of a hospital-related illegal drug import business.

"Fifty years old, Lynn was a living poster girl for nursing: smart, kind, and caring. She wore a pale yellow linen business suit over a dark tan blouse, colors which enhanced the deep brown of her eyes."

"Her makeup was minimal and expertly applied to set off the smooth skin and pleasing features of her face. Medium height and five or six pounds over her preferred weight, Lynn kept her short brown hair in a flip cut, easier to manage, she'd once told Jonathan, when you're on the road much of the time."

"In her surveyor role, Lynn was also a teacher, and she liked that. Through the years she had remained a learner as well as a teacher, and she had learned many everyday practical keys to surveyor success. Wear clothes that travel well. Comfortable shoes. Short, simple styling for her straight brown hair. She'd learned many travel tips as well, like how to lift her luggage into an airplane's overhead bin--not likely anyone would help with that challenge."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Exciting Weekend in Austin!

The Agents Conference of the Writers' League of Texas in Austin last weekend was well executed and it was very successful for CONDITIONAL. Audio support for the large general sessions was poor and hearing the speakers and panelists was problematic--largely because few remembered to speak directly into their microphones in that huge meeting room. Nevertheless, the content was great. The smaller breakout sessions were excellent, notably those addressing agent-author relationships, character development for novel to film conversion, and team efforts for self-publishing. Alan Rinzler's keynote address was inspiring. He convinced all of us that now IS the best time ever to be an author--more than ever before authors are in control of the publication process for their work, he says.

I had scheduled two one-on-one consultations with New York based literary agents to explore representing CONDITIONAL to traditional publishing houses and to film makers, both as complements to its already existing self-publication. To my great joy, both agents responded to my verbal pitch by asking to see the entire manuscript, and I'm sending it off electronically to each of them today. This might open heady new venues of distribution for CONDITIONAL.... Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Writers' Conference This Weekend

Heading to Austin today for the weekend-long Agents Conference of the Writers' League of Texas. The agenda promises some interesting symposia on various aspects of the writing craft and book marketing. I've scheduled two consultations with New York based agents--I'm looking for representation to introduce CONDITIONAL to traditional publishers and to film makers. The weekend will offer endless opportunities to interact face-to-face with literary agents and other writers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Here's Peter Larsen!

Peter Larsen is the second lead in CONDITIONAL. He collaborates with the medical team to to rescue their kidnapped colleague and to unravel Laurence Sullivan's surreptitious link to the Mexican drug cartels. He first appears in a hospital emergency room:

"See that young guy in the blazer? The good looking blond guy. He's FBI...Special Agent Larsen, he told me. They brought in a man with an abdominal stab wound--some kind of drug deal that went bad."

"Peter was in his early thirties and very good looking. Clean cut, all American boy-
next-door type. Tall, six-one, six-two. Tight body and lots of sandy blond hair, thick and close-cropped. Smooth sun-tanned face, and the most strikingly blue eyes a person could imagine. His big smile showed straight even rows of white teeth, and he wore a light weight khaki-tan suit with a white shirt, button-down collar, and a black knit tie. Jonathan noticed he was chewing gum Gum? That's Peter, alright."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meet CONDITIONAL's Main Character

Let’s have a look at Dr. Jonathan Harding. Those who've read UNANNOUNCED know Jonathan is a 58-year old retired surgeon who lives in San Antonio. White-haired since his early thirties, he is a hospital accreditation surveyor for The Joint Commission. Same as in UNANNOUNCED, Jonathan is the protagonist of CONDITIONAL which takes place in the Dallas metroplex.

“Maybe he should have just moved ahead to retire from medicine and write fiction like he’d wanted to do. …But the powers that be at JCAHO and his friend, Peter Larsen, had twisted his arm a bit to persuade him it was a good idea to accept this one final survey assignment.”

“Jonathan was a social liberal, but a fiscal conservative. …Tall, trim, and hazel-eyed, he wore his usual conservative three-button single-breasted suit with a blue oxford shirt, button down collar, and a rep-striped tie in a slender four-in-hand knot.”

The novel’s plot thickens and Jonathan foresees trouble. “As the night wore on, dreams crept into Jonathan’s sleep. Frightening dreams. Dreams of danger. Dreams of racing down a freeway, driving fast in an unfamiliar car. A two-tone gray sports car, convertible top open. Darkness. Faster. Something, or somebody chasing him. More speed seemed the only way to safety—faster and faster. Then, in the dream, the sports car spun out of control and Jonathan crashed."

"He couldn’t move—couldn’t climb out from under the steering wheel, could not release the seat belt. Injured, he dreamed, but alive. The freeway was deserted, no other cars around. Suddenly, in the dream, hands were all over him. They pulled at his arms and legs, tried to get him out of the car.”


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meet the Characters!

CONDITIONAL is now available at http://www.createspace.com/3838586. In preparation for the novel's official release date I want to introduce readers to some of its characters. I've included a few excerpts from the book that provide a preview of the people I've invented.

Let's begin with Laurence Sullivan, MBA, FACHE. Sullivan is CEO of a large medical center in Dallas, the flagship of a six-hospital corporate group. At the novel's opening he's in his executive office hearing the unfavorable outcome of his hospital's just-completed accreditation survey from the three-person survey team.

"Sullivan planted both hands on the shiny desktop separating him from the three surveyors and glared across at them. Bracing himself on the desk, he riveted the three with the steady gaze of a predator ready to strike his hapless prey."

"He was a large man in his late fifties. His face was clean shaven, his full head of wavy auburn hair expertly coiffed, not a single hair out of place. All in all, he presented a formidable appearance--leonine, some said when he wasn't around."

"Sullivan's gaze jerked from one of the team to the other, stopping for an instant to stare at each one of them. 'What the hell good will that do? If you three come back again in six months we'll never get out from under this conditional crap. You'll just screw us around all over again.'"

"Facing away from the survey team, Sullivan slumped down into the rich brown leather of his plush executive chair. Completely ignoring the surveyors, he stared through the large bay window at the hazy city skyline twelve floors below."

"Finally, without a word, Sullivan spun his chair back around. He stood and motioned with his head for the surveyors to follow him out of the office. The expert tailoring of his clothing emphasized the man's flamboyant demeanor: charcoal gray double-breasted pin-striped suit, custom made off-white shirt with his initials embroidered on one French cuff, burgundy paisley necktie in a broad half-Windsor knot."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Get Ready -- CONDITIONAL is coming!

Today I returned the book proof files to the printer with a few corrections/changes. CONDITIONAL is now in the final preparation stages and its release can occur on July 16 as planned. I'm really happy with this book. Dr. Jonathan Harding and FBI Agent Peter Larsen work together again to resolve a life-threatening conflict between a greed-driven sociopathic hospital executive and a team of accreditation surveyors. I promise it'll keep you turning the pages. Watch for the July 16 release date!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May Market Day at Church of Reconciliation

Big time marketing of arts and crafts took place last Sunday at San Antonio's
Episcopal Church of Reconciliation. Three authors, a well-known water colorist, and lots of creators of handmade items all sold together in the church's recreation hall. Sales of UNANNOUNCED were brisk and at least one follow-up sale on Kindle resulted.