Thursday, January 31, 2019

1965 changed my life

Me in 1965

It was 1965 and the song "Wooly Bully" was playing on everyone's radio along with the Rolling Stones "I Can't Get No" and of course the Beatles were the king of the airwaves. They had just released their 6th album, "Help." Actually at the time I wasn't counting... all I knew was that they were cool and hip. Everyone was talking about Atomic Power as the SNAP space craft (The first atomic powered space vehicle) went into space. Even the French were experimenting with Atomic weaponry. At school we were doing under the desk drills for just in case atomic emergencies, but nothing could top my excitement about the Gemini 4. Frank Borman and Jim Lovell were my instant heroes because they were going into space. Gemini 4 launched and I had a model of the Gemini capsule, and the rocket that blasted it into orbit, in progress on the kitchen table. It was very detailed and tons of pieces. I loved models but my parents never helped me put them together or paint them... I guess they were too busy. 

It was that same year my school experience took a turn to the south (or should I say a detour into repetition.) I remember doing crazy things in the 3rd grade... like writing papers for school and then removing all the punctuation and capitalization from them. Seriously I thought it was funny to hand in a paper that read like one long (run on) sentence. I also remember turning in my homework and watching the line leader throw mine in the trash before she took it to the teacher. (Either she liked me or hated me... to this day I'm not sure.) She had been doing it for some time as I had to redo lots of assignment which I was accused of not completing but I hadn't caught her until then. Not everything was her fault that year - I remember purposefully writing my spelling words and scrambling the letters around. All the right letters were there but not in the right order. What I didn't get was the importance of doing these things right. Actually I'm not sure exactly why I did those things... I just did them. As a result my teacher told my parents I was mentally retarded (it was the 60s and the term wasn't frowned on back then.) She insisted that I be retained for at least a year and repeat the grade again. I had not proven to have mastered the expected content for the 3rd grade and certainly wasn't socially progressed enough to go on to the 4th grade. 

I thought well there must be something wrong with me if I'm not socially ready to be sent on to the illustrious 4th grade. I supposed there was some kind of social aptitude that one must pass before entering the privileged 4th grade. In my mind I thought that the 4th grade must be like going to the promised land if I wasn't allowed there because of something broken in my head. (Heck, I didn't know what social skills were at that age. All I got from the situation was that I was broken and probably couldn't be fixed. My self esteem was at an all time low.) The part that rattled my mother was that my teacher said I was Mentally Retarded. She insisted that I be tested at once. So I had to have and IQ test to prove that the teacher right. I remember putting blocks into fitted slots and being timed for a variety of other activities.  Then the results were in. My teacher said that there was a flaw in the testing because I couldn't have a 130 IQ... it wasn't possible. The teacher convinced my parents to hold me back on her recommendation because the tests didn't gauge my social skills and I just didn't fit in with the other kids. (Yes, I was a little odd compared to the majority of the kids... it had to do with my wiring and it was never going to change. It was because I processed, and still do process, things differently.) Not only did I have a 130 IQ but I was a whole brain individual. I could write with either hand and use either side of my brain to problem solve. (Most people are either right brain dominate or left brain dominate... there are only a few of us who are whole brained individuals. We see the world differently... it's wired into our hardware.) I knew I didn't fit in socially with the rest of the kids. It wasn't that I didn't want to... and having an over protective, paranoid schizoid, for a mother didn't help. Talk about hovering and protecting... she didn't help when it came to learning social skills because she was always taking up for me. That is except for where this teacher was concerned. After all this teacher was a professional educator and new about such things. (I'm sure your wondering why, what exact remembrances makes me label my mother as a paranoid schizoid... but that is a story for another day.) They didn't tell me what my IQ tests had found for years later. I went on with my life thinking that I was broken. There was something wrong with me. 

Personally I think that the teacher should have taken partial responsibility for my being so bored out of my mind as to be forced to amuse myself with the creative but childish pranks I was pulling. She didn't see the GT for the misbehavior... but then it was the 60s and the term GT hadn't been quoted yet. As for my parents. I wasn't what they wanted either... they wanted a more normal child. Especially my father. He wanted a rugged, get dirty, get rough and rugged kind of a son. I was more... intellectual... less muscle bound and not as coordinated as the future high school jocks and football stars. It was years later that I learned that it was my eyesight that effected my hand eye coordination, but it was too late to change the concept that I was the one that the jocks liked to pick on. (I wasn't alone in that category but I don't think they poked anyone else's butt with an ice pick or was tied up and hung upside down from a basketball goal... and kids today complain about being bullied! I'll save that story for another day too.)  Personality wise I was more of a hunter with a camera than a gun. I liked to shot pictures, draw pictures, and paint. (Like my mother would have ever allowed me to shot a real gun. Ha ha.) In truth I didn't seem to fit in with any of my family... at least I didn't feel like I did. My sister (as much as I love her) was 13 years older than me. There was little camaraderie there... My nieces were more like sisters to me than my sister. Sadly they became my mother's favorites... So, where did that leave me? My sister thought I was spoiled and got everything she didn't get. Her egocentrically limited vision of my situation kept her from understanding me. No one could see how I felt. ( I suppose you could blame it on teenage angst except I wasn't even a teen yet.)  I didn't know where I fit in. As a result I had to go on a long journey of experimentation to find myself. Who was I and how do I relate to people around me. I decided early on that I had to do things to make people like me. I had to find what will make them like me. I did a lot of things just to make people like me... I suppose I still do. I usually keep the fact of my IQ a secret and when the subject of IQ might come up in a conversation... a person might say, "My IQ is a 110." I say, "Really mine too." (It is that and more. I don't consider it lying because the truth would make them feel uneasy or even dislike me.) I have met a few people with what I think was surely higher IQs than mine and they are even stranger than I am. I'm sure... very sure... there is a connection with social dis-connectivity and IQ. We laugh at the high functioning nerds on television but even on that show the sad thing is that if they hadn't found each other they would be struggling to find where they fit into the world too. Next time you see someone who you think is a bit odd... it might be because they are gifted not mentally retarded. 

Time to get plugged into the world of Evan Chavez.

Time to get plugged into the world of Evan Chavez. He is a second generation American who grew up in the tough city of Chicago and has roots that reach all the way to Puerto Rico. He enlisted in the Navy and soon became a Military Intelligence Special Service Operative. He was recruited into the most elite  and secretive team of Covert Operatives in the U.S. Military, Goldstein's Gorillas. Little is known about this elite team because of the National Secrets Act but recently some documents have been declassified. Those documents have been retrieved and provided here through the National Freedom of Information Act of 1967.

In 1989 the first official act of the new President, George H. W. Bush, was issued in secret. This secret mandate authorized the Pentagon to immediately create a team of elite covert operatives which would work for Navel Military Intelligence under the supervision of a Special Forces Colonel, one Matthew L. Goldstein. These elite Special Force operatives came to be called “Goldstein’s Gorillas” and could infiltrate foreign countries and extract specific individuals known to claim responsibility for terrorist acts against the United States. These files, once considered top secret, have since been declassified. Goldstein’s team operated from 1989 to 2017 after which Goldstein was promoted to General. He is now officially assigned to the Pentagon. 
The original patches worn on the operative’s fatigues were round and portrayed a comical gorilla at the center. Goldstein thought that it wasn’t suitable. He believed it made the team appear inept and whimsical. He had the moniker changed in 1990 to a patch which displays a snake wrapped around a dagger. He was quoted as saying he felt it was more indicative of the squad’s commando spirit. This patch was worn by the very few who counted themselves as a part of Goldstein’s Gorillas, the most successful Special Forces team in U.S. history. Soon after its inception the team became the United States number one top secret asset.
Their military and political worth was in their ability to plan and execute missions that were considered by other military personal using standard practices, hopeless and impossible. Their success soon tagged Goldstein with the nickname ‘The Magician.”
The report states the team was many times issued orders (by whichever President occupied the oval office) to do surveillance and retrieve essential data. Initially in 1989 it was used to collect data about the involvement of countries, dignitaries, and individuals aligning themselves with Iraq before, during, and after the Gulf War. Pages of redacted text suggests they played a greater part in those countries than surveillance. Eric Chavez was one of these operatives who managed to leave military service and more. He found a new life as a police detective in the city of Fort Worth Texas. Once he constructed the intricate missions the Gorillas executed  but now, as a detective, he manages to think through the crimes like the master strategist he is and find the criminal. His is the thankless Job of solving the cases no one else could... he is in charge of the cold cases involving a murder. His cases are plagued by layers of dust and time which eats away at the evidence like rust on metal, however, he manages to solve an astonishing 70% of his cases. 

Find out more about Evan Chavez in the novel 'Premeditated Pandemonium.'
Now available at 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Premeditated Pandemonium - A Worldwide Dilemma.

The mystery in my novel "Premeditated Pandemonium" goes from a twelve year old murder of a Texas resident to become an international dilemma. How you ask? Well, you'll just have to read the novel to find out. Will Evan Chavez be able to stop the terrorists from using the weapon known as 'Jehovah's Tears?' Will the High Reverend of the Genesis People get his revenge on the Fort Worth Chief of Police for meddling in his plans? Will he make the detectives pay for their sins against his dream with their lives? How many must die before President Edgar Tarkington surrenders his egotistic vanity and rescinds a presidential mandate freeing the hands of the detectives and allowing them to do their jobs. All these questions will be answered by reading the Novel 'Premeditated Pandemonium: An Evan Chavez Adventure.' Find it online at and Locally in Lubbock at Josey's Books and Records.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

See you at 'Josey's Books and Records' this Saturday, Feb. 2nd.

Signing day is coming to 'Josey's Books and Records'  this Saturday, Feb. 2nd, I'll be there to sign books, and some fun meeting and greeting. Can't wait to see you there. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The chemistry between the characters is like lightening.

I had an interesting conversation with a prospective young writer and she was asking about how I develop my characters. I told her that I like to think of them as well crafted pieces of the whole novel. That there must be a chemistry between the characters in each chapter. It didn't matter if the characters are on the side of good or bad (and frankly there are few who are so clearly defined - as most are a bit of both) but the chemistry must be there. If when you finish the chapter and the interaction between the characters leaves you with a hum-ha feeling... throw it away and start again. The right chemistry between the characters is everything. When the right chemistry is there the interaction of the characters will be electric and captivate the reader. I personally think that it must be electric from the start to the finish not just in one chapter... their situations may generate the lightening or it may be their relationships but lightening is essential... even if it's shocking.   

Saturday, January 26, 2019

A Short Trailer for "Premeditated Pandemonium"

Hope you enjoy this short animation I made to go along with the cover art for my novel "Premeditated Pandemonium." It's now available at and locally at 'Josey's Books and Records' in Lubbock. I have two dates to do book signings at the Lubbock location of 'Josey's Books and Records.' Mark your calendar for Feb. 2nd and Feb. 9th and I'll see you there. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Being practical and straying from original goals

Today I'm going to blog about my favorite subject... me.
Here I am with my first musical Instrument. (Note the date on the pic... it was 1961.) This little ukulele had a hard life... I don't even know what went with it. Probably it was the victim of one of our garage sales. Not long after this my mother decided that it was time for me to start piano lessons. Why? I think that it was actually to keep up with the joneses. Other children, and by that I mean not just any children but children of her friends, were starting piano lessons. I suppose you think I'm mistaken but I remember conversations with relatives and friends about how well their sons or daughters were doing with their music - how accomplished we had become. These weren't casual conversations but rather arenas of social competition. I had to learn to play the piano because if I didn't I was going to bring shame to my family. So... I learned. I took piano, viola, and organ lessons over a span of eleven years. Eleven years of lessons. When I started college I had originally thought about doing a major in visual arts and a minor in music. The University advisor just laughed and said they didn't offer that. I would have to take a double major. Ok... so what I thought... that is just what I'll do. I decided on a major in advertising art and music composition. I had to play for my mew music masters though. So, I did. I showed up to my audition and they approved me. Then they gave me my expected practice schedule and list of classes for the semester. I had already been to the newly created college of art and they had given me my work load too. The two majors combined were an unbelievable amount of hours to complete and would take up my every waking (and some sleeping hours too,) I decided not to go through with my original plan. Mother would not be getting a musician for a son. After that I played less and less. I took classes for a few months under one teacher and then another but it dwindled and today I can't remember when I last played. Time goes on and we invent/reinvent ourselves over and over. I got my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and got my teaching certification. I have been blessed to have found work in the art field (doing and teaching) up to my retirement as an art teacher. My last teaching position included teaching art, remedial math for summer school classes, and team teaching reading (after all I did pass the University's English Proficiency Test and clipped some required College English classes.) While working in the visual art field I used writing as a hobby. Many of my stories which were typed on my old typewriter are lost because they were stuffed here or there. After I retired from teaching I was taking care of my mother (who had her second little stroke) and I just couldn't (for a variety of reasons) do art in that environment - so I wrote. I added these stories to ones I had already stored back and I have lots of short stories... some yet unpublished. I edited my first novel (which I had finished about a year before I retired) and published it with a collection of my short stories. That put two books toward my novice credit. Well, that's how I ended up being a writer. I think that my best work is still my latest: the novel "Premeditated Pandemonium: and Evan Chavez Adventure." However, My first one "The Secret King" keeps on selling.  See all my literary works at . 

Drawings by Dan-Dwayne:

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Talking about faith...

It's blog time again and today I want to blog about faith. As those of you who have read my novel "Premeditated Pandemonium" know, it starts with a discussion about faith. The character of Zane Dunkirk in contemplating faith in general and his faith in those whom he calls his leaders. Fiona Larsen, Evan Chaves boss, finds it hard to have faith in her officers when the perpetrator targets them, and NSA Agent Brown is disgusted seeing the faith the cult members have for their High Reverend. Yes, the idea of misplaced faith runs throughout the story. There are lots of other references and each character exhibits a faithful virtue or is incapable of having faith in anyone, especially when so much is at stake. Some characters seem trustworthy but in fact misuse the faith others place in them. You’ll just have to read it for yourself to see what all the hubbub is about.   
  You can find it on '' and locally at 'Josey's Books and Records' in Lubbock, Texas.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Blogging about "The Evan Chavez Adventure"

Hello all... Today I'm blogging about my new novel. I know some of you might be seeing this on Facebook, Tweeter, or even Pinterest... but they are linked to my blog and that is why you can see it too. So where was I... oh yes, I was about to blog about my new novel. I usually just call it "Premeditated Pandemonium" but the real title is "Premeditated Pandemonium: An Evan Chavez Adventure" Can you guess what the hero's name is? I bet it didn't take three guesses. Well, he might be the guy who gets the credit but he has a terrific team behind him who does a lot of the dirty work. There is Janie Fulbright who is constantly flirty and sarcastic, Texas Ranger Guy Franklin who is in love with Janie and has been for years but Janie can't make up her mind between Evan and Guy. Then there is Marty, the Boston detective who does everything by the book, and the beautiful NSA agent who knows just how to stir up the mix. With all their personal baggage and drama it's amazing that they can get any detective work done at all. That brings us to Fiona Larson the Fort Worth Police Chief. She seems to have a crisis of faith concerning the abilities of her people when they are being targeted by unknown assassins. Frankly, her first thought is to always protect the department. I guess I should mention the General. That would be General Goldstein. He is now a general at the pentagon and was the commanding officer in the Military Intelligence unit Evan Chaves served in. His information comes in handy. Then there are the Mossad agents who get dropped in the mix with the agents from the 'Arab World of International Finance.' Oh yes... Things just start to get tangled into the web of intregue when the President makes some sudden changes in the U.S. foreign policy.  Without a doubt things get very dicey with the suspicious  behavior of our fame seeking President, Edgar J. Tarkington. That's when the case turns into an international debacle. Is Evan strong enough to hold it together and save the day by stopping the device called 'Jehovah's Tears' from destroying the world's economy?  

That brings up a question I hope you have asked... Just what villain could do all this. Surely he would need some kind of organization behind him... and then why would he want to do this in the first place... Is he insane, a terrorist or a diabolical genius? Perhaps he is all three. 

You'll just have to get the book and see for yourselves how it all turns out. There are lots of tears before the end... after all we always appreciate the light of day most just after the darkest night. 

Up coming Book Signings and Promotions

I have a book signing and author reading coming up at Josey's Books and Records on Feb. 2nd for my new novel "Premeditated Pandemonium." I'm looking forward to meeting many of my friends who follow my blog and read my books. Josey's books (where my signing will be) is located at  5217 82nd street Lubbock, Texas.  I'll show up at 10:00am so come out to visit... have me sign your book, or just be a great part of my day. 

The following weekend (Feb. 9th) I will be holding a signing and reading for my children's book "The Land of Neither Here nor There." I'll be reading stories from my book at 10:30am and again and 1pm.  (Remember that Josey's Books and Records is located at 5217 92nd Street, Lubbock, Texas.) Bring the family (of course I'll have treats for the kids) and I'll see you there. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year Resolutions

Happy New year to all...
Like everyone else I am thinking about the changes I'd like to make in the coming year. Many of these changes are common among every new years resolution maker. It's either eat better, lose weight, stop giving into self indulgences, or promises to be more diligent in work. Sometimes family is included into these vacuous promises with the desire to spend more quality time with loved ones. 

I have to admit that I think in these lines myself as I'm sure that I would benefit from any or every one of these resolutions, however, the thing I would want most from this new year isn't something that is easily controlled. Actually it is without a doubt out of my control. As I try to explain my reasoning and wants let me begin by saying those who have read my books understand how in my novels the idea of faith is important. The thought that people should have faith is a underlying theme in my writing. With that said I will further explain my new years hope which is for all of us to have more faith... Faith in each other no matter our differences. Faith to step out and bring our values, goals, agendas, and yes... bring our love, friendship, and trust in each other, in our fellow man... into our daily routine, the ridiculous and obnoxious grind. It is a simple thing although I understand it is hard to include compromise into one's daily goals. Not compromise for compromise sake but rather honest comparison of ideas and agendas... Maybe someone has a better idea than you do. This also goes for those who promote an idea under one boss (or administration) and radically opposes it just because the boss changed. Think of compromise as an opportunity to included someone else's thoughts and ideas into our own. If there is not enough room in our box of options for another's prospective then it's my hope that this year we can try to fit it in there. Sometimes we have to prioritize and make room for maybe the best ideas yet. The small arena of the workplace can be a better place for it and if our leaders would do the same then the world would certainly be better for it too. It's sad to see people haggle over a concept that they both believe in and they cant come to terms because of who's the current boss. 

It has been a popular idea in the last years to celebrate our differences but let's talk turkey... We are all different and always will be... maybe it's time to celebrate our similarities and have some faith, trust, and finally believe in each other for a change. 

Happy New Year!