Thursday, May 31, 2018

Plows and Treasures

My mother told a story about how (in the 1930's) my grandfather went to the bank and borrowed the money for the next year. They had a good size farm... So, he would (and could) borrow enough money to buy seed to plant and then the rest would hold the family over till the crop came in. That money was for food, clothing (including fabrics), entertainment, and as for food it was to pay for the feed for the horses and the cows. He stopped by the seed store on the way home and bought the seed for the year's planting. Then he came home, changed out of his Sunday best (he had been to see the banker you know) into his work clothes and started seeding his land... Planting his crop. When he returned to the house he was going to show granny the money he had borrowed and that there was enough for them to live on till the harvest... but he couldn't find his billfold. It was gone. He went over his trip again. He looked everywhere and nothing was to be found. It was lost. It must have fallen out of his pocket. They had a hard season, needless to say. The next year he goes back to the bank. Gets the money for that year and stops by and gets the seed. He is very sure to keep a grip on his billfold this time. He gets home changes his clothes and starts plowing his fields. He is plowing when he sees something strange turn up as the earth is broken and the plowshare turns the soil. It was his billfold. That year they had money from the year before and the current year too. In my story "A Deal of a Lifetime" a fortune is dropped in Helen Baxter's lap by mistake. The scam artists misplaced the real statue and Helen accidently bought the priceless object. Of course no one came hunting my grandfather down for the money but have you ever tried to put off those bill collectors? They are the worst!    

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What is the difference between stylish and classy?

Surprise... this little fashion plate wearing Cary Grant Style pleated pants, skinny tie, and oxford shoes at 4 years old is me. I'd like to say that I only dressed up like this for church and special occasions, however, that wouldn't be true. I was the child that stuck out in the crowd... red hair and all. That was then and this is now. I'm grey headed and very comfortable wearing my faded jeans, tennis shoes, and Polo shirts. In my story "The Gaslight Gallery" fashion had a lot to do with the characters and the outcome of the story. So what do you think is the difference in being stylish and classy?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"The 38 Special"

I went to an auto show not long ago. Where was it? On the Texas Plains where I live of course. Anyway, there were some terrific Rat-Rods in the car show. For those of you who don't know what a Rat-Rod is... well, it is a cut up collection of cars and parts reassembled into a hot rod. Most are extremely cool as the builders have searched high and low for just the right part to put in just the right place on the hot rod. They usually don't even try to paint them but let them be in whatever condition they come out being. This picture is the dash of one of my favorite Rat-Rods at the show. I can't help wondering if the driver has to have a (firearms) carry permit to drive the car. The name written on the side of the rod was "38 Special." I bet the owner is a mystery writer... What do you think? Oh maybe not.  

Unexpected Things

 Pictured here is a common sight here in West Texas... Of course, it's a cactus. They are everywhere. Every wilderness area that has not been cultivated for agriculture is loaded with this plant. This kind of cactus is flat, thin and teardrop shaped with spiny needles that can be three inches long. It  is very common to see them everywhere and because of that we here on the plains just all but over look it. It's just a another cactus. So Invisible. Then it blooms in the spring. It covers itself in cactus roses. A magnificent sight. the bigger the cactus the more magnificent the display. What a delicate display of color and texture from the most prickly plant on earth. Yucca plants are much the same. (A yucca is also pictured in this photo.) The tips of the leaves are so spiny... so sharp and needle like (even the cactus are jealous of how they poke and hurt.) You can't clean under them and they collect all kind of blowing trash. Truly an annoyance most of the year and then they bloom. I'm sure we have all had that moment in life when we take things for granted (no matter what they might be) because they are so ordinary. Yes... These things are very ordinary, in fact so much so, that they become invisible. Then for what ever reason... they bloom, transform, and suddenly they are noticeable.  -  In my book "Spies Lie & Spies Die" there is a particular short story titled "Morning Fog" The main character is a fellow who is driving on highway 62/82 from his Texas home to where he works in Crosbyton. (A town on the Texas Plains.)  His name is Eugene Bentley and he is about to have a similar experience. He believes himself to be so ordinary that he is invisible. It takes quite an adventure for him to make his transformation. A near death experience for sure.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Buddy Holly was a West Texas Writer, a world class poet

The picture featured here is really the birth home of Lubbock's favorite son... Buddy Holly. Now there was a writer for you, a world class poet. His birth house was just around the corner from where my parents and I went to church for years (and years) and down the street from the Texas Tech Stadium. Busloads of people would stop there to see it. Usually they were on some world famous tour of Buddy Holly's home town. There was a great debate whether or not to tear down all the old houses in that area and build a new and more prosperous neighborhood. It went on for quite a few years, but it somehow lost the battle. Now that area is a thriving metro area of townhouses, fabulous housing for the University students, restaurants and shopping. Everything changes... even if it is a part of out history... even if it has great emotional value... and even if it is irreplaceable. It may have the best outcome and sometimes it is a sad ending.
In my short story "A Christmas Season in Hell" from my book "Spies Lie & Spies Die" The professor is looking for someone with an original story... an original thought. He didn't know that below him in a sealed room that person had been waiting for him. What was Edgar's story. Why was he sealed up in that room for forty years?  How would his story finally end after the professor falls into his morbid tomb?

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Memorial Day Salute

You might think it's a little late to put something up for Memorial Day. Indeed, I agreed with that line of thinking... but then I reconsidered. I'm not sure it is ever to late to make that salute. So, here goes.
Question: Why did he write God so big.   Answer: Besides the fact I love the G in that type style... have your read my "Poetry of Praise" in my novella "The Secret King and Poetry of Praise?" No... Then all I can say is read it and you will understand how I feel. After reading it maybe you can say... I feel that way too.  

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Potter, The Kiln, and The Secret King

I taught pottery for ten years in public school. (Remember I was a teacher. I primarily taught fine art.) Well I find it interesting that a potter can physically change the shape of the clay and form it into anything... any vessel he/she wants. This was the kind of transformation Amon, Kamia and Nachet had to make in "The Secret King & Poetry of Praise." It was important for them to remold themselves into Hebrews and assimilate into the Jewish culture. Needless to say... not an easy task. They even had to take on new names. I guess that brings me to another point about pottery and the potter. When the potter finally puts the clay vessel into the fire... it goes through a stressful process becoming even something different than it was when it was still under the potter's hand on the wheel. It becomes stone. It will never be the same again. It will be (from that day on) what it was when it came out of the kiln. There is no turning back for the clay. Nachet's kiln was the burning house in Bethlehem and his resolve tempered him into a real Hebrew... not someone pretending to be a Hebrew. From that day on there was no pretending. His Hebrew life was set in stone.    

What is the difference in fences and walls?

This is a unique picture I took in a little West Texas town called Meadow. The house was rather ordinary, but it had this great fence which was surrounding a side yard. I couldn't resist framing this pic with my instamatic. In my book "The Secret King & Poetry of Praise" it's a good thing my characters Nachet and Amon didn't build a fence like this or else they couldn't have seen those three wise men coming up to their little house just outside the walls of Bethlehem.
(Ok... So, I don't know if Bethlehem actually had a wall... but most towns of any size built in that time did and the horrible smell of the firing clay would have made it all but necessary for the potter's shop to be outside or on the edge of the town.) So I have to ask... Is the structure here a wall or a fence? It could be used as a wall for a little village. Humm… maybe.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Why use the phrase Water Bird as a code word in "Spies Lie & Spies Die?"

I must admit to a fondness for water birds... especially cranes. I also draw them. They are magnificent. No one would suspect that here on the West Texas Plains I see an abundance of cranes. I think they migrate and my home is on their migration path. They fly off to somewhere about October, and return again in the spring. However, a few long legged white beauties can be seen from early spring through fall. I'm no expert; just an avid observer. At the right time of year some of our local parks with ponds will be full of them... in the trees, in the shallow pond water, walking on shore. Amazing.
Title: Water Bird
Artist: Dan Dwayne Spencer
Media: Polychrome Pencils
In my story "Spies Lie & Spies Die" I needed a pass phrase to keep the money safe in the virtual vault. I used 'Water Bird' for the pass code to access the money. When Angie got that strange phone call and the breathless man said "Water bird" she had no idea it was so important, but she knew she had to find out.

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Did Eugene Bently (a character in "Morning Fog" from Spies Lie & Spies Die") have a spiritual visitation?

Lots of people have asked me why I don't illustrate my own books. I've worked as a artist for years (and years.) This fellow pictured here is a polychrome pencil drawing I did a long time ago... 1995 I think. This whole series is about friends who I call my angels or angel spirits. Think about it... everyone has people in their lives who have made an impact (an influence) on them one way or another. Some angels are deceased (no fluffy wings, just bones) and others are still living (with fluffy wings) and still making an influence on us. This angel spirit is called "Decisions." He had a choice to quite smoking or get cancer again. It was his decision to make.     
Anyway... I wanted to add a little of my art into my blog today. Everyone has a story and we have to let their story unfold as it will. In my book "Spies Lie & Spies Die" I have a short story titled "Morning Fog" It is one of nine stories in that book. In the end of that story "Morning Fog" it's inferred that Eugene Bentley had a spirit visitation. I left that decision up to you (the reader) to make.

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Title: Beauty Queen 
Artist: Dan Dwayne Spencer
Media: Polychrome Pencils

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Your books sure are different from each other. How do you classify your writing?

Question: Your books are so different... how do you classify yourself as a writer?
Answer: Yes, on the surface my books seem very different. It is easy to only look at their differences, but let's stop and step back looking at their similarities. Everyone has an adventure. It started when you were born and goes till you die. (We don't like to think about that... but there it is.) Some of us have plain or ordinary adventures. Selke in "The Secret King" has an exotic adventure. It was set in a romantic time period and he had the privilege of being Jesus' best friend as they grew up together. What one might miss is that the whole story is really about Selke not Jesus. If a person is expecting to read a religious story focusing on Jesus... then they will probably be disappointed when they read "The Secret King." The character Selke is like everyone of us. We have a life full of events and adventures. our adventures are usually about us... the Me, the I, the Ego... not about anything else. That is until we open up to include others into our adventure. Sometimes these others go along with us on our adventures, and sometimes we go along with them on theirs (even if it is by coincidence and not by choice.)  This is what happens to Selke. He is having his own adventure when he is forced into Jesus' adventure. You might not have realized it but Selke is even mentioned in the bible. No... not by name. He is simply called "a man." But back to our topic. Selke's story is an adventure. I write adventure stories. Yes, I simply insist that  all my stories are adventure stories. Not all have ghosts, not all have detectives, not all have journalists, but they all have characterized people who are having an interesting adventure.  (Actually thinking about the similarities... if you look close enough you will agree that each one of my stories has a savior.) Find them on

Ghost Stories

Do you believe in ghosts?
Question: Several of your stories involve a ghost... Do you believe in ghosts?
Answer: Sure... what fun is a good ghost story if you don't believe in ghosts? I have added a picture on this post. This staircase is the famous Santa Fe Chapel staircase. It is made without nails and as the story goes... by a man who just showed up one day. (Amazing how an expert carpenter just showed up.)
He built the staircase and disappeared. (I mean left, of course. What did you think I meant?) Anyway, this man was never to be seen again by the people of Santa Fe. Was it a ghost? Was he an Angel? Was he one of the saints who came to help the mission chapel? So the answer to your question is this... I would rather believe in ghosts simply because it's more fun.

West Texas Writers

West Texas Writers...
I am interested in how many people out there on the West Texas Plains are aspiring writers, published writers, or waiting for the perfect time to write that great American novel. If you are one of those people please contact me at
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
I want to thank my friend and four star romance writer Nicole Locker (whose books are also available on She has been a great help to encourage me... and sometimes guide me through the proverbial minefield a new writer must traverse.   

Does the technique the Forger uses in "The Gaslight Gallery Mystery" Really Work?

It Seems Impossible...
Question - Is the technique to move an image from one surface to another a real thing?
Answer - Yes, the method the art forger uses in the story "The Gaslight Gallery Mystery" is in fact a real, factual technique art restorers and art forgers alike use. It seems so fantastic I have no doubt that people will question if it really works. Nova did a TV documentary about art forgers and this method was mentioned.  

"The Gaslight Gallery Mystery" is one of nine stories in the book "Spies Lie & Spies Die" by Dan Dwayne Spencer

Friday, May 25, 2018

What kind of Gun is on the Cover of "Spies Lie & Spies Die?"

I had to decide what kind of gun to use on the cover. I knew I wanted it to be golden and hang on the ribbon but should it be a Smith and Wesson? Maybe it should be Remington or maybe it should be a Barretta. All three of these guns appear in the nine stories of "Spies Lie & Spies Die." I decided on the Berretta because there are more Barrettes in the book.  I looked at one and using my mouse I clicked off the image of the gun in Photoshop. I added in the shadows and details. (Although I purposefully kept it a bit nondescript on the details.) Then I flipped it upside down onto the ribbon.  

What I think Living in Lubbock is like.

Yes... I do like Lubbock. I've traveled lots of places (especially in the south) and I always return to Lubbock. It's home not because I just call it that but it feels like home. I get mad at traffic, yell at my dashboard when someone grabs my parking place first, but that means nothing really because there's truly a feeling about this place. It's friendly - for the most part except for that woman who grabbed my parking place.
Lubbock is small enough for neighbors to bond together and large enough to have every convenience necessary for fine living. You can catch the Bellamy Brothers at the Cactus Theater, Garth at the Spirit Arena... or you can gather at your best friend's place to watch the Red Raiders play ball. (That is if you weren't lucky enough to get tickets to see them in person.)  Lubbock can never be confused with any other Lubbock town because there is only one and its right here in West Texas.

Finding Beauty in the Flat Land of West Texas

Yes, I really do live on the Texas Plains. As I was driving to work one day (you see, I traveled from Lubbock to Brownfield every day when I taught there) when I realized that before me was this perfectly framed picture describing the flat land of the West Texas Plains better than any words could. I had to take the snap on my instamatic camera. If you look close you might see our one and only mountain. Nope it was only an ant hill... sorry. 

Welcome to my Blog

My book signing at Rock City Lubbock was an exciting event. I had great book sales and loved the people. What a great group. They listened to me as I told a little about where my stories come from and laughed at the right times. Can't ask for more.