Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Magic Mirror
One of the fourteen illustrations in my book for children "The Land of Neither Here nor There." In this story a grandson and his dog have a magical stay at his grandmother's house. What happens next is in the fairytale "The Magic Mirror." Only one of the modern fairytales in this handsome 8 by 10 inch book with color illustration I personally drew and painted. Look for the book on by clicking this link... "The Land of Neither Here nor There"

Between the Sea and the Shore
One of the fourteen illustrations in my book for children "The Land of Neither Here nor There." In this story a grandfather and his grandson catch a dragon in their fishing net while out on an ordinary day. What happens next is in the fairytale "Between the Sea and the Shore," one of the modern fairytales in this handsome 8 by 10 inch book with color illustration I personally drew and painted. Look for the book on by clicking this link... "The Land of Neither Here nor There"

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Always something new on the horizon
You will recognize the four books I've published thus far and then there is another one in this list. It is only a proposed cover at this time. I design, draw or paint all my covers myself but I always want to get the readers feedback before I actually use it. All to say that when this one is actually published it might have a different cover. This is the next book in the Premeditated Series and of course our hero is Evan Chavez. This book is scheduled for March. Until then enjoy my other books currently available on

One of fourteen illustrations in "The Land of Neither Here nor There."
This is another of my illustration from my book for children titled "The Land of Neither Here nor There." It is one of fourteen illustrations in this book, and yes I wrote and illustrated it myself. This is a book much like the "Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland," and by that I mean it is meant to be read to the children until they are older. It contains the stories that I created for my children when they were small... Now I hope that it can become a part of your family tradition too. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Just in time for Christmas...

The tech team at KDP came through and finally my book for children is ready and available in full color. I apologize for the glitch in their system which delayed the publication till now. We (the KDP people and myself) thought it was online and fine till we encountered technical problems... BUT now it is ready. To answer many of you who have already asked... yes, I wrote and illustrated this book. There is a variety of different illustration styles because each story has a different voice and feel. Just in time for Christmas this book is trimmed out as an 8 by 10 inch oversized edition with extra large type which makes it easy to read. It also has 14 color illustrations and is bound in a velvety feeling soft cover. These modern fairy tales of the Land of Neither Here nor There will delight the young and old. Below are three of the fourteen illustrations from the book "The Land of Neither Here nor There."

Monday, November 26, 2018

Frustrated about delays

I must confess that I'm more than a little frustrated with the software at KDP. I have been trying to get an update published for the paperback version of my book "The Land of Neither Here Nor There" for over two weeks. Usually it only takes about 48 hours to apply an update even though they ask for 72 hours. That is to say that they are quick to respond and add the book to their bookshelves. However, for some reason my book is stuck in the system. The technicians say that this has never happened before. Hopefully they will get it straightened out and you can start buying the updated paperback version of this children's book sometime this week. The paperback version that is live is the draft version and as I said I have been trying to add the update so that you get the best paperback version available. Until this glitch is fixed (and I will announce it here on my blog) please buy the E-Book version. It has accepted the update. I am sorry for the inconvenience to my readers. I was hoping to have this fantastic children's book available in full color and in an oversized 8"x10" softcover edition by Cyber Monday.
This link goes straight to the E-Book version. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Yeah... It is printed in full color.
Great things are happening in the Dan-Dwayne universe. That may sound egocentric, but I must admit I'm more than a little excited about my oversize soft cover ( size 8' X 10') book for children... "The Land of Neither Here Nor There" It is printed in full color with 14 illustrations of my stories which I created myself. 

I call it a 'Book of Modern Fairy Tales for all Children'... Meaning if your young or old you will fall in love with these stories. Check it our on
has just gone live. Beat the rush for Christmas and order this week. New Books sometimes take a couple weeks to start printing because there aren't any in stock and they must be printed on demand... so don't wait.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

The week of Thanksgiving will be a big week for my books.

The week of Thanksgiving will be a big week for my books. My brand new book "Premeditated Pandemonium" will be on a special promotion. On November 20th go to and download the book to your kindle or tablet for FREE. Sorry this promotion only applies to the digital format. It is the only time Amazon will allow this FREE offer so take advantage of it.

Then my long awaited new book for children "The Land of Neither Here nor There" will be available for preorder on Saturday, November 17th and available for download on the 20th. I'm calling it 'A Book of Modern Fairy Tales for Children of all Ages.' This Land of Neither Here nor There is hidden behind the secret gateway of sealed edges. You'll just have to get the book to know more. It is printed on a larger format (8x10) and is illustrated with charming color illustrations inspired by children who understand that once in a while it's completely appropriate to color outside the lines. I should know if they are charming because I did the illustrations. Yes, I wrote it and illustrated it. As many of you know I was a commercial artist before I became an art teacher and also was the Art Director for a local duplex television station. I think it will make a great Christmas Gift. 

Don't hesitate because it usually take several weeks for a new paper copy book to be printed and delivered (about two weeks I think.) The reason for this is that there are no copies in reserve. They all must be printed on demand.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The promotion has started!

These bookmarks advertising my new novel 'Premeditated Pandemonium' are just in. Watch for a T-shirt with the snake wrapped around the military knife coming soon. There will be a special promotion for this book Thanksgiving week. Watch for it!  

Monday, November 5, 2018

It's official.

It's official. My new novel is available at for e-book and in paperback form. Check it out today.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Click the link.

I was so surprised to go to Amazon and see that they have already approved the copy and put my novel, Premeditated Pandemonium, out for preorder. Looks like they think it's going to be a hit too. The information I just received was that it will be delivered after November 5th. Yea! 

The pre-ordering for Premeditated Pandemonium, the new novel by Dan-Dwayne, starts on November 5th.

It's all most here. The pre-ordering for Premeditated Pandemonium, the new novel by Dan-Dwayne, starts on November 5th. Only 3 days left.

Evan Chavez was one of the US Military’s best assets while he was working for Naval Military Intelligence. Twelve years ago he spearheaded a mission in Boston where one of the team members, Zane Dunkirk, flipped to the other side, whoever they may be, and took what the team was sent to get. It was no accident that this mission’s objective was to steal two hundred and fifty million dollars in diamonds. For the past twelve years he has blamed his Lieutenant for stealing the diamonds and escaping. That was twelve years ago and for the past twelve years he has blamed his lieutenant, Zane Dunkirk, for stealing the diamonds and escaping. In the twelve years that followed the botched mission, Evan left military service and became a police detective for the Fort Worth, Texas Police Department. He chose Fort Worth because that was Zane’s last known address. To his surprise he discovers that Zane’s body was found in a Boston sanitation service dumpster. He had been murdered twelve years ago. Can Evan find Zane’s killer and return the diamonds before they are used in a doomsday device called ‘Jehovah’s Tears?”
One thing is for certain, he can’t do it alone. With the help of his old Military Commander and a team of professionals he discovers the truth behind the Boston Mission. Could the answers lie with a
religious cult who believes that the world has scrummed to idolatry because of what they call
the ‘Black Queen of Diamonds?’ He discovers the truth, and that truth shakes his belief in
everything... Everything he thought he had faith in.
This book contains mild language and mature situations,

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fort Worth and Sundance Square becomes the centerstage.

Fort Worth and Sundance Square becomes the centerstage for my new novel, "Premeditated Pandemonium." The adventure soon escalates to Boston and then on to a world wide crisis. Evan Chavez, my latest and most heroic adventure hero to date, takes it upon himself to solve the puzzle and find justice for his murdered friend. The adventure takes him into the world of a dark cult bent on causing a global Armageddon. Can he stop them before they start a nuclear war in the Middle-East?
Order "Premeditated Pandemonium" on November fifth when it is released for preorders. Only six days left before it is available.  

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Countdown has Begun

The countdown has begun. Amazon will be accepting preorders for Dan-Dwayne's crime thriller "Premeditated Pandemonium."  This full length novel is his best work to date.
Evan Chavez, a detective in the Fort Worth Police Department, is shocked when he is sent information about a case where a man was murdered twelve years ago. Evan knew him because they had both worked for US Military Intelligence. This was before he left military service and became a cop. This man's name was Zane Dunkirk and he had been AWOL for the past twelve years. All that time Evan had blamed him for botching that mission and committing treason. Now he learns his friend was innocent and was killed in the line of duty. With the help of a team of professionals he determines to find the killer and bring justice to his friend's memory. The problem is nothing in the spy world is as it seems. The case grows into an international affair with the world teetering on the precipice of nuclear war. The suspense is brought to a critical point when the President breaks treaty with Israel in exchange for the Arab world leaders signature on a worthless world peace accord. Can Evan avoid causing a global Armageddon by uncovering the international plot before the world explodes in WWIII? Can he stop the heinous group responsible and bring the world back from the brink of war? Order your copy on Monday November 5th!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Preorder Starting Nov. 1st

It's almost ready. Get your Kindles and tablets out because my new thriller will be ready for preorder on November 1st to be shipped November 5th direct to your reader. The wait is almost over. This one is a real nail bitter. It has spies, murder, crime, femme fatales, explosions, psycho cult members, and a  love triangle. Now that's entertainment.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Note to My Friends

Hello Dear Friends,
I hope that you will excuse my absence form my blog for a bit longer as I am furiously working on my new book. I am under some pressure to get it on the shelves by Christmas. Trust me... I usually write Novellas and Short Stories but this one is a full fledged Novel (my first) and a real nail bitter. I'm so excited that it's almost finished. Hope to have it out very soon then I'll be back to my sarcastic self... promoting and blogging as usual. Until then my books Spies Lie and Spies Die as well as The Secret King and Poetry of Praise are already on the book shelves. Check them out at and
Thanks for your patience,
Dan-Dwayne and Mary

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Not my usual subject matter

This sketch is not my usual subject matter. As a matter of fact I don't think there's another unicorn in my entire artistic history. The reason for that is because I did this one before I had discovered myself, so to speak. This was done when I was seventeen (or so) as part of a high school project. My teacher (Mrs. Wilson) wanted us to learn about lithography printing. Litho printing is usually done with a stone but she gave us a treated paper to draw on. I didn't especially like the project and to make it worse those special treated papers (we were to use as printing plates) were fragile and would only make one or maybe two images at best. The result (for me) was hideous. My print was nothing like my drawing., so you see, this is neither my drawing for that project or the print I awkwardly produced. It is my initial drawing I made for the project... The one in my sketchbook.  As for the litho print and the plate... I destroyed it as soon as I got it back from the teacher. The drawing style is somewhat reminiscent of what it would come to be but the composition is... not so good. Sawblade mountains, and an awkward foggy thing making a fingery point toward the animals head. All so high school...  Art is a growing process and the newest art should be the best yet. This drawing has problems and was finished a very long time ago. That very same year I won a contest to design the poster for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra's next concert. I was all so excited. Thank goodness I didn't have to draw any unicorns on it.
Looking at this drawing for what it was (what I was) not what I became makes it more palatable... like writing. The newest is supposed to be the best yet, and I think my new book (which I'm currently writing) is the best one I've ever written. It has suspense, intregue, a priceless treasure, lots of puzzles for the reader (and the hero) to decipher, and of course one of those inexplicable love triangles... But, until it's published check out my books "The Secret King and Poetry of Praise" and "Spies Lie and Spies Die." on Amazon and Goodreads.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Basic Materials

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.
Willa Cather – Pulitzer Prize for writing ‘One of Ours.’

Here I am at age eleven soaking up a little nature in my front yard. (Doesn't most eleven year old boys wear dressy casual clothes to play in... NOT.  lol)  Oh my, look at that hair... You have to love that flat top hair cut. I was never tall... I guess I come by that naturally as my father was only 5'6" and my grandfather was only about 5'3".  I don't know for sure but I've been told that my great grandfather was only about 5'2". I was anything but gangly... thin but not tall, and I was a handful. I should have been in the sixth grade.  (The account of my life I'm telling here is not something I usually talk about... I just felt like sharing today.) When I was in the third grade I would do unconventional stuff on purpose. I would write a required school assignment, a whole paper and after I finished it I would go back and take out all the punctuation and capitalization. It would look like one long sentence. Doing things like that didn't make me popular with the teacher. Then there were the students too. I was kinda different. I didn't fit in with their crowd. I had a few friends but they were as strange as I was. Most the kids didn't like them much either. My only friend who was what I would call cool was my life long neighbor girl, Karla. We were always best friends (and even though we rarely see each other any more I hope we always will be.) Truthfully, I was too different even for her crowd. Anyway I regress, my teacher thought that I was mentally retarded and told my parents not to expect me to go to college or anything like that (and here I am with an advanced degree and certifications.) I know that "mentally retarded" is not a term used in proper, politically correct, circles, but it was the early 1960s and that was the word used back then. The crux of my story is that my teacher convinced my parents to have me tested and prove her theory to be right. She arranged for an IQ test. Mother and I faithfully showed up for the test and I took it. I remember thinking how dumb of a test it was. When the results came back the teacher was furious. My teacher said that I had cheated or something... My score was 130. She never took responsibility for how bored I was in class, her inadequate teaching , and not challenging me to do better. She told my parents that I wasn't socially prepared to go into the fourth grade (really... like I ever would be). Well, I was held back a year anyway. It didn't help... I didn't fit into the social class of that group any better than I did the previous class, and now I carried the stigma that I had something wrong with me. I believed that there was a reason I didn't fit in... and it was me... All my fault... and I can't be fixed. No one told me until much later (many years in fact) what a score of 130 on that test meant. Then the pieces started falling into place, however, It still meant that I was.... different.  Even now, if the topic of IQ ever comes up in a conversation and someone tells me they have an IQ of say 120... I reply, "Oh... me too." and let it go. Social adjustment is more important than vanity. 
As for High School:
I went through school not caring to make terrific grades. I could make it through every class without taking notes. (My parents were just thankful that I passed... after all the school system had told them that I was maladjusted.)  Over the years I did get asked by several students if I would write their required writing assignments for them... (not that I would ever do that of course) and unlike my classmates I could understand Shakespeare's old (almost biblical) writing. Then there was the art. The cheerleaders were always making signs for one thing or another and it became a common thing for them to ask for my help in drawing letters.  Now, that was cool.  My favorite classes were art and world lit. You may ask how I learned to get along with others... I learned to keep my mouth shut and only give my ideas when they were asked for. Still (even with my new philosophy) for the most part my school years were awkward and unrewarding... or so I thought. Now as I look back I think that all my life's experiences has made me more empathetic. This, I think, translates to into being a better writer.    

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Life with Father (and Mother)

Okay the folks you see here are... Mom and Pop Spencer with little Dan-Dwayne. I couldn't have been but maybe 18 months old here. But, this blog post is really not about me... it is about Mom and Pop. My father was a mechanic, and I believe that he was the first of his immediate family to go to college. After WWII he took his GI bill and went to Paris Junior College where he studied auto mechanics. They say that reading is essential to being a good writer... Well, Mom bought me book on all kinds of nonfiction subjects. That's the reason today my head is full of useless information, however, I can't remember one time that my mother or father read me a story (bedtime or other wise.) I do remember my father reading a lot. He read his manuals and kept up with the latest on automatic transmissions, He also read his bible faithfully every night. (He was no saint by today's standards... I remember him cursing the house blue, but frankly I 'personally' have issues with todays overtly critical expectations of Christian behavior. But, that is a blog for another time.) My mother would tell me stories... not read them. They were events that happened in their lifetime that were rather remarkable. Like the story about living in a Railroad boxcar when they couldn't find or afford anything else. Then there was the time they once lived in a chicken coup when they went traveling picking cotton (migrant workers.) As you might have guessed my family was... poor. That all changed when my Dad became a certified mechanic. They actually started living the American dream. Did I know much about their hardships?... No, only the stories my mother told me. You see, when I came along Dad was already working at a garage. Soon he even started his own business (Spencer's Garage) and that was even better than working for someone else. As a young man I had to decide what my career was to be. I decided to get a BFA in Fine Art. My Dad hit the roof. He told me that I would starve. That was a bad career choice. I should go into medicine or law. (I would have made lots more money in either of those fields... for sure.) With my BFA and a teaching certification I ended up working in advertising, printing, television, and even taught school for 24 years. I have to say that from time to time things have been hard, but God has blessed me to be able to make a living at the one thing that was my passion. When I retired from teaching I decided it was time to reinvent myself and because my sister and my wife insisted that I publish some of my stories - I did. Now I have two books on Amazon and Goodreads with a Novel hitting the market by Christmas. (Writing was always my avocation while art was my vocation.)  When my kids were little I read them stories that I had written... then later I started writing short stories and novellas. I'm exceptionally excited about the adventure story I am currently working on. Check out my books I'm sure you'll like them.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Art can be made of the simplest things.

Title: Shirt on Easel
Media: White Pencil on Black Paper
Artist: Dan-Dwayne Spencer

This drawing is a reminder that art can be made from the simplest things.  I had finished painting for the day and hung my painting shirt on the end of the easel I was using. (I have several.)  When I looked up, I felt challenged. The shirt was white and the only good drawing paper I had at the time was black. So, in the spirit of competition I set off to make the shirt look somewhat like a white shirt. The light was strong and the shadows were dark and deep. Much of the white shirt looked grey in the little side light I was using. When it was finished I knew it looked more like a grey shirt hanging on an easel than a white one. Oh well, I thought I was trying to be so faithful to record what I was seeing. When I compared my drawing to the shirt... I found that I had indeed made the contrast a bit higher than the original (hanging on the easel) and the drawing looked more like a white shirt on an easel than the shirt before me. I suppose that comes from having a mindset while I'm attempting a project. It will (at least a little bit) resemble the image in my mind rather than the one I see before me. 
I think when I'm writing I do that with my characters too (and maybe that's a good thing.) I see and hear them in my head in a certain way. It's like they are a people and I'm trying to imitate them as I write. I only hope that I translate their uniqueness to the page. Anyway, I was reading a part of my new (soon to be released) novel to my sister and she stopped me and ask me if something was true about my female lead character. I was shocked because that is exactly how I was seeing her in my head.  It made me feel like I had succeeded in giving her more than a name and occupation. She was more to my sister than the words I had written. She had heard (since I was reading) between the lines and given the character more of the intended personality and physicality than I had completely described. She had picked up on my innuendos... my inferences. You should read one of my stories for yourself. There are 9 short stories in my latest publication "Spies Lie and Spies Die" and I'm sure you will like them. Remember they are all adventitious mystery stories. Some are even a little eerie. Hummm… How would I describe my more spooky tales? I'd describe them as Twilight Zone meets Agatha Christie. Well maybe... 

Monday, August 6, 2018

How important is a name?

As a writer I go through dozens and dozens of name choices for my characters. I what the right name for the right character... it must relate to the character's personality. Then there are the cars that they drive. Do you think it was by chance that Helen (and her son Blair) who were running from the thugs in my story "A Deal of a Lifetime" was driving a Ford Escape. Not an accident. The name of the car that the character drives has something to do either with the personality or the situation the character is involved in. Then there is my story "The Gaslight Gallery Mystery" the Native American, Detective Navarre, drives a Jeep Grand Cherokee. If you haven't noticed this then reread my stories and see for yourself.

I also think that names of people are important. Would John Wayne have been as popular if he had not changed his name. His first name was Marion. Then there was Lubbock's favorite son... Buddy Holly. His real name was Charles. Not nearly as 50's cool as Buddy.

Friday, July 27, 2018

It's all about you...

People ask me if I talk with a Texas twang (For those of you who have never heard that term it's another way of saying a Texas accent.) I would have to say yes to that. but my neighbors might disagree. As a teacher for 24 years I suppose midwestern English has been browbeaten into me and as a result I sound Texan to people from other places but not so mush to my brother Texans. But, enough of me for now. I was going to talk about you guys. I was setting here thinking about you... oh not you personally, but the many yous that make up the viewers and readers of my blogg and how you come from such vast backgrounds. I'm sure some of you who read my books have a variety of accents. Here on my blogg I get a breakdown of where my audience is from. I love looking at it. I have viewers from the UK, Germany, Philippines, Spain, France, Malaysia, the USA and other countries too. Thank you for just being you...  and reading my work. 

In the novel I'm currently writing much of the action happens in Fort Worth. So here is a pic I took the last time I was at Sunshine Square. For those of you who have never been to Sunshine Square I think it's terrific. It is a small town atmosphere in the big city - quaint shops, and historic buildings. There is even a bed and breakfast where in the cowboy days it was one of those places where men went to party with the ladies. (Can anyone say the best little 1880's whorehouse in Texas.) Of course today it is all posh and modern in the décor with original Picassos, Warhols and other fine art hanging in the library room. You don't get in there without being a guest, but there are lots of other things to see  and do at Fort Worth's Sunshine Square. Oh and while you're there take your copy of my book "Spies Lie and Spies Die"... and if you don't have one yet... get one.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Tribe is a Powerful Thing

Title: Tribal Spirit
Media: Polychrome Pencils on Watercolor and Ink
Artist: Dan Dwayne Spencer

This is a mixed media piece... It's a drawing and it's a painting too. It represents the will of a people, a tribe as they walk through life. A Tribe is a powerful thing. Sometimes the people are lied to and it causes their journey hardship. Sometimes the people are cheated and it makes the steps harder to take. But, the people persist. They continue their journey. They seek vison to know what is the right way to go. They listen to their hearts and discern the words of men. They are a tribe. They are a people. 

In my new book which I'm currently writing my character of Janie Fulbright, a District Attorney from Tarrant County in Texas, says she has a tribe. Her tribe is on social media. They help her find the clues she needs. No... I'm not telling you more... you'll have to wait till it's published. Check out my books on Amazon... "Spies Lie & Spies Die" and "The Secret King and Poetry of Praise"

As High As They Will Go

Title: As High As They Will Go
Media: Graphite
Artist: Dan-Dwayne Spencer

Dear Reader, 
I'm sure that you are looking at this saying..."Dan-Dwayne I thought you were a better artist than that. those hands are way out of proportion." However, this is not the case. This is a drawing of one of my students who graciously posed for my art class. He was in a wheelchair and suffered from some kind of MS that caused his body to be out of proportion. I'm sure there are different kinds but I don't know which he had. I do know that people suffer greatly from it and it shortens their life... But frankly I don't understand why people must have such terrible afflictions... like MS, Cancer, Parkinson's, Dementia, or Alzheimer's. Anyway - Sorry, I strayed from my story... He loved art. He truthfully wasn't a craftsman and his art wouldn't be considered creative or clever but he loved the making and doing of it. Everyday he rolled in with his attendant to his assigned desk where his aide attached the desktop I made for him. He had special attachments connected to his paintbrushes and drawing tools so he could manipulate them with his contorted hands. They told me he wouldn't live to graduate, but they didn't know his powerful little spirit. I was very happy to know that he did graduate. In this picture he is raising his hands as high as he can. I've never made prints of this drawing and probably never will. Like this student... it is one of a kind.  

In my story "A Deal of a Lifetime" which is in my book "Spies Lie and Spies Die" Ten year old Blair and his mother stop in a souvenir shop and buy what they believe to be a fake Pre-Columbian Idol. The thing turns out to be the real thing and the gangsters who stole it from the museum wants it back. He wants it bad enough to kill Blair and his mother to get it. To find out more read my book "Spies Lie and Spies Die."  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Just a Thought

“In everything, almost in everything, I wrote I was guided by the need of collecting ideas which, linked together, would be the expression of myself, though each individual idea, expressed separately in words, loses its meaning, is horribly debased when only one of the links, of which it forms a part, is taken by itself. But the interlinking of these ideas is not, I think, an intellectual process, but something else, and it is impossible to express the source of this interlinking directly in words; it can only be done indirectly by describing images, actions, and situations in words.”
― Leo Tolstoy
       I was reading this quote and thinking... Dan-Dwayne, you have 150 pages written on your new Novel. It's rough right now but it has murder, adventure, suspense, romance, humor, and intregue. All the things I like to write about. As I see it... I'm about half way there. When the first draft is all on paper, so to speak (Flash drive for us in this century) It's rewrite... develop and flesh out the characters and increse the intensity of the drama. To quote Ernest Hemmingway - “The first draft of anything is shit.” Sadly this is true from a technical point of view. The thing is even Mr. Hemmingway had to have a first draft of his phonomonal literatary works. Yes, everyone must have a first draft or the final cut will never appear. It's what we learned from all the other first drafts we had that can make a difference in the quality of the next story. Notice I didn't say sucess... Success depends on what the people (the readers) decide to do with it.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Paulo Coelho on Teardrops

“Tears are words that need to be written.”
Paulo Coelho
Eleven Minutes, The Alchemist, and Like the Flowing River 
Dear Friends,
After teaching for as long as I did... I suppose it's not uncommon to have a few tragic stories along the way. Tragedy brings tears and tears need to be written down. This is a detail of a painting I did in class as an example of a certain technique. And yes, you might have noticed how the demonstration paintings were a bit hurried and less articulate, however, it wasn't unusual for me to paint one of my students as a way to demonstrate techniques. This painting is called Jeorge. Now Jeorge was one of my student who loved art. In fact he took the progressive track through my art classes meaning that he was my student every year for three years in high school. He was a senior when I did this painting. Right after graduation he was in an auto accident and died. It was a devastating loss and such a sad funeral as he was so young. Yes... lots of tears fell from many of us that summer.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Wallace Stegner, On Teaching and Writing Fiction

“By his very profession, a serious fiction writer is a vendor of the sensuous particulars of life, a perceiver and handler of things. His most valuable tools are his sense and his memory; what happens in his mind is primarily pictures.”
Wallace Stegner, On Teaching and Writing Fiction

This quote says that a writer must have pictures in his head. Well that is what I have had in my head for years... As a visual artist I created pictures, icons, and images. I think it is the right time to put some of those pictures into words. Check out my books on and Goodreads. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Larger than Life

Here in Lubbock, we love our favorite son... Buddy Holly. We have a Buddy Statue, a Buddy Museum, and we have even moved the Allison House (Where one of the Crickets lived) to the museum grounds. (Funny they didn't move Buddy's old house too. It was just down the street from the Allison house.) Anyway, All to say that we love Buddy, his music, and his band (The Crickets). I guess you might say we've made him bigger than life. Here you see enormous Buddy glasses (a sculpture) which sets just outside the Buddy Holly Museum. I suppose being larger than life has it's advantages and it's disadvantages too. It would make it hard to fit into everyday society. I mean if Buddy was alive there would be people swarming to get his autograph and such... and imagine the paparazzi. Then I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be living in Lubbock Texas. As I understand it he had moved to New York or somewhere before he died. Why... you ask? Because Lubbock just didn't get his music. Some liked him but some really didn't. That is the way of things. Pardon the paraphrasing but I think that even the Bible says that a prophet is not respected in his own country. There is no denying that Buddy (and his band too) was a fantastic entertainer, songwriter and what some would call a poet. The Plains of West Texas has produced many musical talents like Waylon Jennings, Mac Davis, The Gatlin Brothers, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks; and Actors too like Woody Harrelson, Barry Corbin, and Chance Crawford (best known for his role in Gossip Girl.)   But, Let's not forget the famous (and semi famous) writers from West Texas which include Elmer Kelton, Kambri Crews, Carol Hall, and of course Me... Dan Dwayne Spencer author of "Spies Lie & Spies Die" and "The Secret King and Poetry of Praise."

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Do Spider Monkeys have six appendages?

I know this is a shocking picture. The question I have is this. Do Spider Monkeys have six appendages? (Not counting the tail of course.)  Is that why they are called Spider Monkeys? The answer to this startling question is that Spider Monkeys are only called that. They actually have only two arms and two legs. This picture is one which I photoshopped for the purpose of class discussions with my art classes. You might remember that I was a teacher for 24 years. In this modern world one must look out for the fakes. There are always those expert scam artists who would take advantage of your lack of knowledge. In my story "The Gaslight Gallery Mystery" which is in my book "Spies Lie and Spies Die"  I have my character of Mrs. Gloria Crawford. investigate a murder which involves the forgery of paintings. The forger murderer went to the extremes to make his/her fakes seem real. It may surprise you that the process I described in that story is actually a process used by art forgers who can make a modern painting look like a million dollar masterpiece. It is a process which has actually fooled several museums in the past. If you want to know more about what I'm talking about read my book "Spies Lie and Spies Die." It is on Amazon and Goodreads.  

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A New Beginning
Title: A New Beginning
Artist: Dan Dwayne Spencer
Media: Oil on Canvas

Usually I share a drawing with my readers. This time I'm sharing a painting. The title of this one is "A New Beginning." It's depicting the first rays of morning light on the blue-green planet. We are not seeing this phenomenon from the horizon of the planet's surface but from far in space. A view only seen by God. Stay with me as I explain; by showing you the first light of day on the planet in this manner I am empowering you with the vision of God (or so it seems.) Empowerment is an important thing. It is the critical part of child raising that allows the child to stretch their horizons, or some would say, broaden their sails until the time they are ready to launch into the world. Then there is such a thing as self empowerment. Self empowerment allows you to start healing emotionally. Too bad we don't take that empowerment away from those who caused the pain. If we stop giving them power over our feelings then they cant hurt us. In my story/novella "Spies Lie & Spies Die" (published in my book by the same title) the character of Phineas King has separated himself from his first love, a high school sweetheart named Angie. He has never recovered from their relationship. He proved it when he confesses that he has kept her number (even though she has changed jobs.) He knows exactly where to get in touch with her and what her new phone number is. In the most primitive way he has never taken away her power over his feeling. He has tried to make a break and have a new beginning but he is tied to his past. Will that effect how he completes his mission for the NSA? Will she become a liability or an asset? If you haven't read my book "Spies Lie & Spies Die" check it our on Amazon. You'll like it.       .   

Albert Camus on the purpose of writing.

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”
Albert Camus -

Reading this quote my first impression is that Mr. Camus took himself way too serious. Accepting his philosophy would put a huge responsibility on my shoulders (or that of any writer.) I rather hope the people who read what I write will leave with two thoughts: First I hope they found it uniquely stimulating and secondly I want them to have enjoyed the read. What do I mean by uniquely stimulating? Well, that should mean different things to different readers.  To one reader it might mean that the plot was unique and interesting. To another reader it might mean that they believe my character of Aunt Gussie is a representation of our older social customs which have become lost in this postmodern techno fanatic culture where pleasantries are replaced with rudeness in everything from the music to politics. Not that I meant that at all... but one can never be sure what the reader will come away with. All I'm saying is that Mr. Camus in putting a lot on the writer to insinuate that he/she can defend the world itself  in the novelty of a humorous short story, or a romance novel. Then again... maybe he is right and maybe that is exactly what we are doing. Adding the spice to the mix so everything blends together better. A humorous story to act as an aspirin against the headaches of the real world might keep it running one more day. My short story "Aunt Gussie's got a Gun" is in my book  "Spies Lie & Spies Die." I think you would enjoy it.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy July Fourth
A special thanks to all the service men and women who 
have and continue to serve the USA with dignity.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ray Brabury on plot development

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through. That is all Plot ever should be. It is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic. So, stand aside, forget targets, let the characters, your fingers, body, blood, and heart do.”
Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451

Dan Dwayne Spencer is a retired school teacher. He taught public and private school a total of 24 years and for a while he was the Art Director for two West Texas news channels. He says that when he writes a mystery it’s like he’s putting together a jigsaw puzzle without a picture on it because even he doesn’t know where it is going to end. He says that most times his writing is a form of discovery. He insists that all his characters are only a conglomeration of words until the moment when the reader sees them with human flaws. It doesn't matter if the story is outrageously funny or deadly serious… because God is the author of life. Every misfortune and success, every birth and death is orchestrated by the author of life and Dan Dwayne spends a multitude of hours trying to imitate the adventure we call living. His Books ‘The Secret King and Poetry of Praise’ and 'Spies Lie and Spies Die’ are available at Goodreads and Amazon.    

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Fate doesn't hesitate... fate doesn't ask permission... fate just does.

Title: Fate
Artist: Dan Dwayne Spencer
Media: Polychrome Pencils

This drawing is one in my Earth Angel Series. Sadly it no longer exists. It is now only available as a digital print. (Which all my drawings are available as digital prints through my email but that is another subject.) Anyway this original drawing was one I used for many years as a class example when I taught this kind of drawing style. It hung in my office at school. (I was lucky to have a little room I used as an office and storage room.) One night the air conditioner broke and condensation started pouring back through the vents. Yes... you guessed it... through the vent over the picture and it ran down onto of the drawing. It was ruined. Fate was a great name for this work (titled before the accident, by the way) because fate didn't ask what the drawing was worth. Fate didn't hesitate to allow the air conditioner to break down, and it certainly did stop it from happening. What happened to this drawing was just that... fate. In my short story 'Midnight in New Orleans' My character, Minerva, starts to question the fates when she asks Alexis what business she had being at a séance for her Old Tom. That bit of foreshadowing might have started your thought wheels turning. If you haven't read my book 'Spies Lie & Spies Die' which contains my short story 'Midnight in New Orleans' then please do. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.        

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Changing the Viewer's Perception

Here I am again, what a handsome red-headed devil. Only this time I'm at a photo shoot. Actually two separate photo shoots. I find it amazing that in 1962 they were still taking professional photos in black and white. Of course in the B&W picture you'd have no idea how red my hair really was. That black and white photo is the focus of this story. My mother told me it was time to go get my picture taken, but I was busy playing. I didn't want to go. She said, "Alright, that's fine but I'm getting my picture taken and you must come with me." So, that was that and I went with her. She put my tie in her purse just in case. When we got to the studio we had to wait because a couple of little girls were getting their pictures taken before us. Mother noticed that I was paying the girls attention. (...or maybe they were paying me attention and I played along?) She said, "Those girls got their pictures taken don't you think they would like it of you got yours taken too?" I put on the tie and got in front of the camera, but I couldn't take my eyes of the girls. Mother struck up a conversation with the girls mother (probably to keep her around until my photo session was over.) The girls were giggling and waving at me. That's why I'm not looking at the camera. Mother loves telling that story. It's not really a special one. There isn't any real excitement, but it's one of her favorites. Now to my observation... It is about my hair. In the B&W picture my hair looks dark... but it's really quite bright. The camera changes the viewer's perception of what he/she were seeing. The writer is in control of what the reader sees... through the whole book the reader may be seeing the story in black and white until the end when the writer pulls out the color camera and shows us that what we thought was right was not. It is the twist that makes the reader hang on. Ernest Hemmingway was a writer who didn't resort to explosions and gun battles to keep his readers interested. His characters were deep and seemed real. They had real life problems and hunted for real life solutions to those problems. It was real life that grabbed the reader. Life comes with twists. It's the twists that keep it exciting. If you haven't read one of my books then you simply must. "Spies Lie & Spies Die" and "The Secret King & Poetry of Praise" are available at Amazon and Goodreads.