I Am A Cheesebag

I lied. Didn’t mean to, but I lied. 

The “Big Announcement” scheduled for today has been delayed for 1 week. The reason is simple, I’m a member of a board, and the board deserves to hear it all from me first.

As to the second announcement – well, let’s just do them both at once. 

I will say, in any event, that all of you praying for me was appreciated. And, it appeared to work!  I had great results at the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) convention in Chicago.  More to come, as it relates to both announcements. 


In the meantime, I’d just like to make my opinion known regarding the Ukrainian Impeachment Follies the democrats are holding at the capitol.  Russia didn’t work. So now they are meddling in foreign policy. Regardless of what your opinion is of Donald Trump, Presidents of the United States have wheeled, dealed, and squeezed foreign leaders using aid as leverage since at least Thomas Jefferson.

It is not the place of anyone in the chain of command to countermand, or deny, or report the President for doing so. Having been in the chain of command, you never know what the big boss has in mind. You aren’t there to judge it, but to support it. Do your best, keep your mouth shut and move along smartly.

Sometimes you are asked to do things that others might view as a crime, but the command authority has a good reason for doing them. I speak from experience. A Lieutenant Colonel is a nobody. A two-star General is a nobody. They don’t get to second-guess the President.

And, for those of you who are saying “He can’t criticize anyone in uniform” I’d just like to remind you that plenty of people wearing the uniform have been very wrong over the years. I’d give you a list, but either you’re nodding your head already or you think I’m a jerk. 

Joe Biden bragged about quid-pro-quo regarding firing the prosecutor in Ukraine. It’s on video. President Trump was within his rights to ask that it be investigated. If you really want to tell me that running for President absolves you from the law, every stupid drug-dealer in America should run for president to avoid  going to jail. 

There’s an election in 2020. If you don’t like Donald Trump, don’t vote for him. But this insane drive to impeach him began before he was sworn in. It’s not good for our country. Period.

Now, back to what I was doing earlier. Looking at pictures of Chewy.



A Little Late This Week

Today’s post will be a mere teaser. I’m asking you all to keep me, and my family, in prayer this coming week.

Why?  As if I don’t have enough to do, I’m launching two major changes/additions to my life in the next few days.

I don’t want to release details until we’ve reached orbit, but that will be sometime next week. 

What I can say, for the moment, is that years of preparation and hard work (not all of it on my part) have gone into this moment.

If part I works as envisioned, I’ll be doing great things for good people all the time. And, I’ll be financially secure if part II plays out.

So, it’s a two-parter that needs your prayers. 


Details next Thursday.


Thank you in advance.

Joy In Doing What We Love.

The backstory is something that all writers are warned about. It’s death to lead into a new story with a recap of the protagonist/antagonist history, physical description, and motivation. Well, tough cookies. Gotta do it this time.

Back in the 1990s I read a lot of “Techno-Thriller” books. I am a voracious reader (when I’m not writing) and back then I hadn’t even considered being an author. I’d make the pilgrimage to Barnes & Noble every week and look for new books from my favorite authors. One of those authors was Michael DiMercurio. I even forgave him for the cheesy back-cover photo of him standing next to a torpedo. Why? Because he got it. 

I’d spent three years riding submarines doing intelligence work, and his books all rang with authenticity. I had even been on the same submarine he was on, the U.S.S. Hammerhead. But I loved those books, and became a fan of the most dedicated sort. 

Fast forward a dozen years and Barnes and Noble had moved all the military techno-thriller works in among the general fiction. They made it hard to find my favorite authors – had to walk the aisles and hope I spotted them. I missed new works from Michael, and figured he had moved on.

Then, about six years ago I was in a Facebook group for submarine types. They’d allowed me in even though I had never qualified as a submariner. That didn’t last, and eventually I had to leave the group. But during that time I met Michael on-line and we became friends. He was gracious enough to read Assault on Saint Agnes and give me some very good guidance on my writing career. He was kind about it, funny as can be, and kind of a curmudgeon. And, as is often the case of veterans, the fact that we didn’t know each other personally didn’t diminish the bond of brotherhood. 

Once I was published, I started nagging him to put his books up on Kindle, as there was no doubt a market for them. He’d regained the rights as they’d fallen out of publication. He did just that, and with the good offices of Crossroad Press, he was back on the charts. 

I next nagged him to do audio books. He’s brilliant, and I sent him a document on what he needed to do to make it work. A couple of weeks later he said it was too much like work, and would I like to do the books?

That moment I knew things were good. Now, several books later, my monthly revenues from Audible pay for all of the kids I sponsor overseas. There is a tangible benefit for my work and it impacts the lives of many others.

This past weekend, Michael flew to Saint Paul to work on recording parts of the latest book, EMERGENCY DEEP. We finished up after a couple of marathon days, and adjourned to the dive bar mentioned in the previous blog. In the meantime, my wife had a chance to meet the guy who has kept me up late and gotten me up early to work on the recordings. Michael also stole Chewy’s heart, and now the dog is loyal to him as a result of all the cookies Michael fed him this weekend. It will take me another week to wean the dog from the diet of attention and biscuits he was showered with the past three days.

Fun. Just plain fun. We had some fans show up, talked about writing, conspiracy theories, the afterlife, faith, and good whiskey. 

Sunday, we qc’d some of the final recording files. Michael went back home and I’ve just got about 5 minutes of recording and 3 hours of editing left and we can ship it off to the publisher. I think it sounds great, and DiMercurio did an excellent job for a first-timer.

Thank you, Michael, for coming to town to do this. It’s not often that you get to meet a virtual friend, especially when it’s someone you greatly admire. 

I look forward to some new books, and one more audio book – at the moment – from his pen. 

So, set aside some money and I’ll let you know when EMERGENCY DEEP  is ready for purchase!

Meet The Authors In A Saint Paul Dive Bar Day Featuring Michael DiMercurio & Joseph Courtemanche.

You may have noticed all the audio books on the right hand side of the blog. You may also have noticed that most of them are by Best-Selling author Michael DiMercurio. This Saturday, the 12th of October, we’re celebrating the completion of recording “Emergency Deep” at the palatial recording studio at my home. 

Well, maybe not palatial, but Chewy lets me kick him out of the living room when the microphone is on.

Michael is coming to town to record parts of the book with me, and we decided to have some fun. Part of the fun will be a chance to sit with us in one of my favorite dive bars from 4-6 pm on Saturday. We will tell lies, talk about writing, and be obnoxious. It’s inevitable when a spook and a bubblehead get together like this, and it’s even worse when we’ve both deployed on the same submarine (at different times.) 

So, if you want to join us, and find out how the sweeping octopus of world communism was swept from the seas by The U.S.S. Hammerhead (and her intrepid crew) put a comment on the blog and I’ll invite you to the event. Now, if you really want to go, leave both your email and your phone number. I won’t publish it, but I will call you with the location. We’re trying to avoid a crushing crowd. And, also, there may be unhappy ex-wives and bill collectors out there, so we have to keep it quiet. I’m not saying any more than that.

Leave a comment and you’ll get an invite. The location is in Saint Paul, Minnesota. That’s all I’m saying for now. You might luck out and get a drink on the authors.

Either way, we’re going to be good and not embarrass Crossroad Press. They treat us too well. You should go and check out their authors and audio books.

See you Saturday at 4!

Basil Cafe: A Restaurant Review

The whole point of a restaurant review is to share the place with the reader. Basil Cafe is worth sharing. 

Located at 585 University Ave W., St. Paul, MN 55103 (near the intersection of Dale and University) it is a beautiful, contemporary restaurant with no pretensions. Fantastic food, friendly staff, and parking next to the building, it’s a gigantic success waiting to happen.

That’s some cold water.

You’re greeted immediately, and before you finish getting your chair adjusted there’s a tin-cup of ice water, with a refill bottle, on the table and ready for you to enjoy. That’s a big deal in an era when the staff at most places can’t seem to see you until you make a fuss. 

The drink range is all non-alcoholic, but unless you’re on a Lost Weekend bender, that shouldn’t be an issue. With a variety of canned soda (many from the region of the cuisine) and coffee/tea, you won’t go thirsty. I had a mango soda, and besides being beautiful, it was delicious. Amazingly delicious. Like, so good I wanted to bring the soda fountain home with me.

Made with syrup, it’s amazing

We went right to the appetizers, and got the egg rolls and the fried pork belly with garlic. The egg rolls were top shelf, and worthy of praise. But they paled in comparison to the pork belly. I’m a serious bacon/pork belly kind of guy, and I’ve only had it this good once before at a Cuban restaurant in Florida. Tender, juicy, flavorful with just a bit of heat, I’d order a larger plate of these and skip anything else for dinner. They are truly that good.

Happy Food!

Just as the appetizers were finishing, the main course arrived. We both got the Pad Ka Pao. My wife had the shrimp version mild, and I had the beef medium. Both were beautiful to see, and frankly I was a goner when the fried egg still had runny yoke inside. Perfectly prepared, the sauce was light, the beef tender, and the vegetables crisp. Not the sauce that comes in a giant drum, but the kind that tells you the chef cares about flavor. 

Pad Ka Pao

Desert was also a rave. My wife had the TRI-COLOUR (Tapioca pearls, jackfruit, toddy palm, grass jelly & basil seed with palm sugar & cream) and I had a Thai waffle with ice cream. I am a moron, so I don’t know if there is such a thing as a Thai waffle, but these were produced on a tiny little waffle iron, and had hints of coconut. The ice cream was smooth and just the right temp. Both winners.

Total bill out the door with tip was under $60. That is a top-shelf value for such a great meal.

We will go back in the future. Nice ambiance, great staff, excellent food. Five stars for sure.


Small shrine near the ceiling