Bette David Eyes & The Lanai

The past week I’ve been taking my laptop out on the lanai (fancy word for screened patio) and working on a writing project for NAVIGATING ADVERSITY. It’s one of those things where you dig in, set a writing goal for the day and just hammer keys until you get to the finish line. I’ve got a way to go, but I’ll meet the deadline. (Full revelation: I screwed around for months “thinking” and didn’t really see what I had to do until I got trapped in Saint Louis for an extra day after the ACFW conference. Amazing what being locked away for a day does for one’s focus.)

Anywho, the lanai is a wonderful place to work. I’ve got a gigantic ceiling fan right above me to keep the sweat at bay, I can watch the construction across the canal, and I can hang out with the dogs because they love it out here. Perhaps best of all, Kip is on the other side of the house working in her office and I can BLAST 80S MUSIC AT FULL VOLUME WITHOUT ANY COMPLAINTS. Mind you, “blast” is relative, I’m only at about 5 on the 1-10 scale, but it’s still fun to sit here and listen to the songs of my tribe in my youth. 

Right now Kim Carnes is singing Bette Davis Eyes. I love the song. The video is perplexing, but who am I to judge. It worked for her. 


Now, I’m done goofing off, Men With Hats are doing A Land Down Under and I just realized that’s a pretty strange video as well.


Strange: a word that fits my life.


I Apologize For Wandering Off

I’m back. Last week I was at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in Saint Louis. I hadn’t been to one in about 4 years and needed the spark rekindled to produce a fire. 

Mission accomplished.

Not only did I hang out with a bunch of old friends who write, but I got to listen to the incomparable Tosca Lee lecture twice.  I wouldn’t say she’s a friend, but she does tolerate me and know my name. Seriously, she’s an extraordinary giving person who mentors a lot of new authors. And, she’s funny. The kind of slightly snarky wit that I love.

Perhaps most importantly, I went there to teach a class and it was well received by my students. I love giving info that helps them as writers and people. I also set a goal of stopping to encourage all the first time attendees that I spotted, which is easy since they all had a ribbon on their credentials that identified them as new people.

That’s the best part of the conference. New authors always need encouragement because they have one ribbon on their credentials and old goats have 3, 4, or 10. It can overwhelm them. And you meet the nicest people that way.

I came away from a conference where I pitched nothing to anyone except my audio book narration service with a publisher who wants to talk about potential books I might write, an agent who is interested in what I might write with them as my agent, and an audio book that I’m going to audition for the minute I post this one.

Last night I returned to my church for bible study and got the nicest surprise of the week involving writing. One of my church members is reading my book NICHOLAS OF HAITI and told me that he’s been in Haiti for three hours this week. If you can write something that takes a reader to the place where the book takes place and get them lost there in the work, you have done your job as an author. I really like that feeling.


Well, now to the microphone and the ancient world where I will become an Israelite guard at a pagan temple. I love living in these worlds!

Well, Crap. It Appears I Am An Enemy Of The State.

The question is, “Joe, are you upset that the President described you as an enemy of the state? A Threat to the Democratic Republic?” Nope. First, we’re not the Democratic Republic of the United States of America. We are a republic. Democratic Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, I could go on, but they’re all dictatorships. If that’s what Joe B wants, I am an enemy of the state.

I’d also be an enemy of the state for a lot of other reasons. I’m pro-life. I’m heavily in favor of a lot of traditional things in this country. I have kind of a long list of things Biden has pointed out in the past, but the fact that I was a cop and a military veteran probably take the top tier.

For those that didn’t see his red-lit stomp-a-thon with clenched fists, he declared around 40% of the country to be enemies of the state. Seems kind of high when he wouldn’t even brand ANTIFA, who really did attack the state, as being a threat. 

I guess I’ll just have to put aside my retirement plans and go hide out somewhere. Anyone have a bunker.


Well, I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Supporting sane law enforcement, maintaining my oath to the constitution, helping others, and creating art for people to enjoy while obeying the law. Executive orders, which are not the law, don’t garner the same level of respect so maybe not those. 

Amazing. Trump has been out of office 18 months and this demented old fool is worried about the people who voted for him two years ago. Hmmmm. 

Well, if it’s of any interest, we’ll hold a barbecue and protest here soon. Most of us “enemies of the state” are busy living our honorable lives so we have to schedule it for a weekend. 


I’ll get back to you on the timing.


Oh! It’s That Kexel Woman’s Story. I Can’t Wait!

Janelle. If you read the COVID QUARANTINE CANTINA stories, or some of Kathy’s other works, you will recognize this woman. I love this character. Today she’s the star of the show in: LABOR DAY MISADVENTURE.


We hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul BennettRobert Cely,  Derek ElkinsJamie D. GreeningKathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.

On The Horns Of A Dilemma.

Here it is, Labor Day – almost. And the usual group of scoundrels known as the Fondue Writers Club have banded together to post flash fiction for the holiday. We just do holidays now, after our long-running COVID series that resulted in THE COVID QUARANTINE CANTINA. (Yes, you should buy a copy.) There will be yet another story tomorrow on one of their blogs! Yesterday it was Jamie Greening with his story YOU MUST WORK FOR YOUR FONDUE. Hop over and read it!

We hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul Bennett, Robert CelyDerek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.

On The Horns Of A Dilemma.

It seemed that every time Judith Shawirma planned to go some place with her family on a holiday,  her miserable company with their miserable planning and miserable leadership found some miserable last-minute order that would make them all miserable unless they worked the miserable holiday to get it shipped out.

That’s a lot of misery. Today’s misery was Labor Day, and 74 pallets of waffle-irons that a big-box retailer needed to finish their back-to-school crap. The waffle-irons had been advertised as the coming thing for college students, and gullible parents wanted to grace their dorm rooms with them, because they all wished they’d had waffles for breakfast in college. Mind you, most of them were too hung-over to eat waffles for at least three of the four years they’d wandered their way through a university, but that was irrelevant to the shopping brain programmed in by the media.

The day started out more lovely than anticipated, the local Mickey D’s was closed due to a post Chinese Plague labor shortage, so no breakfast on the way to the warehouse. The annual 10K that the city held added to the joy, as part of her drive was blocked off for morons in lacy shorts and tank tops – pushing strollers. She hated runners, and really hated runner mommies.

Arriving 12 minutes late, her charming boss immediately started abusing her about her “team player spirit lacking” and directed her to get to the far side of the line of trailers waiting to be loaded with her forklift. Work to be done. 

After checking the gas bottle on her forklift, she did a basic maintenance check on it. Slow to respond would be a kind description, but the spare forklift was down and it was good enough. Popping the brake, she actually left a bit of rubber on the floor when the thing ramped up after a hiccup.

Rounding the corner of the stacks, she headed down a side aisle toward the pile of product roped off for the big-box distribution center. Pissed about being late and her boss jumping her about it on a freaking holiday, she leadfooted it down the aisle, the fork screaming at full rpm as she neared the halfway point to her destination.

She had a fork tine on the right that was wobbling toward the floor and the last thing she wanted was a somersault on some crack in the floor, so she nudged the lever to raise the tilt of the forks while she blipped the adjacent lever to raise them a couple of inches. 

The speed was continuing to rise and the forks were not moving. But that changed suddenly as they whipped up to a full 15 degrees from the horizontal and slammed up three feet in the blink of an eye.

“Whoah, that’s nuts!” She slapped at the lever to lower the forks just as her boss rounded a corner and shouted at her to slow down. She honked the horn, but the idiot moved in front of her like Officer Friendly and raised his hand for her to stop. That train had left the station, and her choice was to hope the brakes worked better than the rest of the controls. The other option was to turn hard into the racking next to her to stop, and given the volume of appliances stacked three stories high, she’d probably die in the mess. 

The left fork punched through her boss’ abdomen and he came to rest, scream frozen in his throat two feet from her face. The spray of blood blinded her, and her last thought was she’d never have a breakfast sandwich again as the forklift caught a piece of the racking and pinwheeled down the alley, followed closely by a shower of toasters, waffle irons, mixers and other assorted small electrics. Her seatbelt had never been buckled that morning and she was ejected from the safety cage as the deadly rain of 10 pound boxes dropped three stories to crush her just before the steel racking put the “icing” on the mangled mess.

Labor Day. Not a good day to go to work at Orae electric.