It’s almost Black Friday. That means the burden is gathering and you feel the pressure. Why not skip the hassle, binge on leftover stuffing while shopping from your computer for an audio book gift to give? I’ve conveniently added a link to the page where all my audio books are listed. Go, click links, buy books, stay home. You’ll thank me later.


As threatened, two new audio books are available for you today. Both are the result of months of work, and since the authors are gushing over them, I figure they must have turned out pretty well. Please consider them as potential gifts to your loved ones this holiday. Yes, Audible allows you to gift audio books!  The details are in this link (see how I did that with a link built into this sentence?)


WHIRLWIND by Dana McNeely

A king’s downfall and a love that transcends war

Spurned by potential suitors, Miriam travels to Jezreel to care for her cousin’s son. There, the precocious seven-year-old works his way into her heart. When Arameans swarm the land like locusts, Miriam focuses on the safety of her young ward but promises adventures beyond the city walls when the war ends.

Gershon, a quiet and kind vintner, is happily building a life for his wife, son, and aging parents. But when his wife dies during childbirth and war looms on the horizon, he must make a decision—will he take a new wife before his heart can mend? 

Meanwhile, Dov, a young officer crosses paths with the “bird girl” he remembers from the past. That she is a beautiful woman matters not, as he is a career soldier. Unexpectedly charged with leading Ahab’s army against the Arameans, Dov anticipates death and defeat in Samaria, but when a prophet pledges victory, Dov vows to fight to the end.

When an unlikely victory brings freedom, a bright future seems imminent. Then one afternoon Miriam witnesses a tragedy and must flee with the boy to keep them both safe. With henchmen on their trail, will they find refuge—and her heart the home she’s longed for?



PANIC SWITCH by Michael DiMercurio

The oily and brackish waters of the Russian Northern Fleet submarine base part for the passage of the colossal special purpose Omega II-class submarine Belgorod, on a mission to hold the United States hostage. This gigantic submarine is armed with three Poseidon unmanned submersibles, each with a 10-megaton warhead. Her goal: placing them offshore in US ports in a nuclear-blackmail chess move.

In response, the United States dispatches the newest special operations attack submarine, the Virginia-class USS New Jersey, which lies in wait to follow Belgorod under the polar icecap. Because every submariner knows that what happens under the ice…never happened.

Legendary former admiral and current National Security Advisor Michael Pacino and his son Anthony, a combat-decorated veteran of undersea warfare, return in this epic novel of submarine-versus-submarine warfare.



Not That Lane!

My daily commuting time has gone up dramatically in the last two weeks. Unlike my sedate (other than manual labor) life since retirement, I have been on the road quite a bit to be Santa in Fort Myers at Bass Pro Shop.

Ignoring the abysmal driving I’ve observed, I’d like to focus, instead, on the wonderful people who come to take photos with me.

I have been Santa for 20+ years now, and each season gets better. Perhaps because I no longer have a single thing to prove. I’ve now done every kind of event offered with two exceptions: ice skating/skiing Santa and stripper Santa. Yes, all real, and wisely declined on my part. I desire no injury to my portly body and no videos on Instagram of me in a red thong. I will admit, however, that the money for all of the above was spectacular. Use your imaginations, but have a barf-bag ready.

I have a lovely cast of elves who do their very best to make my job easier. I have NOTHING AT ALL to do with reservations, money, credit cards, or anything remotely resembling the business end of the event. Instead, I eyeball the line from my bench and determine how much time I can spend with each family, who sits where, who stands, and what questions to ask the family.

Much to my delight, my paltry Spanish has been more in need this year, as there is a gigantic Cuban community that comes to visit each day I am there (I am not there every day) and it has been fun. I have been able to guide people, assuage doubts, and chuckle. I find it heartwarming when Abuela tells the kids that Santa is a cutie in Spanish in the misunderstanding that I am English only. When I quip back that it beats being ugly or fat I get some good laughs. 

I’ve also had occasion to speak French (not very well, mainly based on my bar-hopping as a young sailor and mission trips to Haiti – top that combo!) with a family that came to visit from France. 

Finally, my German is getting a workout. I have come to understand that dialect is a huge deal and my German is lacking a bit. But it still gets smiles and some chat going.

If you haven’t already guessed, my heart swells a bit with each visit. The love is palpable. 

Oh, one final oddity and change from Minnesota: pajamas.

There are huge numbers of people who do family photos in pajamas. Didn’t see that much in Minnesota. And I figured out why: you’d freeze to death crossing the parking lot in silk pajamas in Minnesota. In Fort Myers, you work up a light sweat. 

Now, back to shining my boots and getting ready for my next day on the bench! 

Yes, I’ve Been A Bad Blogger.

The last 3 months I’ve been working on back-to-back audio books, both under a time constraint. Consequently, no blogging. Now Santa season is in full swing and I’m working many days a week as that Jolly Old Elf.

However, I do have a couple of books coming out in the next few days, and while I’ll post more on Monday or Tuesday, this is your chance for freebies.

Just leave a comment in this cesspool of intrigue and let me know which existing book you’d like, or if you’d like a copy of the new Michael DiMercurio book, PANIC SWITCH. Perhaps some biblical fiction?  Dana McNeely’s WHIRLWIND should be released late next week. 

If you’d like one of those, speak up in the comments. I’ll be emailing free download codes on Wednesday! (These are transferable, so if you would like to gift a friend or relative with a great audio book, you can use it for that purpose!)

Can Bob Menendez Lend A Hand?

I was just perusing the headlines and noted that NY Governor Kathy Hochul (D) is calling out the National Guard to deal with the illegal immigrant invasion – er, crisis. 

Now, what they will be doing (150 of them) aside from putting them on buses to Republican areas and handing out work permits (previous items on her agenda) is unknown.

I have to wonder if perhaps, given their incredible business acumen and fundraising abilities, if Bob Menendez (D) and Hunter Biden (C) might lend a hand. Just a few of Bob’s bars of gold, or a handful of Hunter’s beautiful paintings, might alleviate the crisis. After all, if Eagle Pass, a small town in Texas with a population of 29,000, can deal with an influx of 10,000 per day with no real outside help, I should think that New York with a population of 8.5 million could somehow limp along with their 114,000 in the last two years. After all, they have lots and lots of room compared to Eagle Pass. Just a few pesos from Bob and Hunter would probably make all things well again. 

Or, on the other hand, the imbeciles in Washington could close the border and stop the invasion of military age men streaming in right now. Watch the news: very few families. And, a strangely large number of fathers with their children but no wife. I would be horrified if anyone suggested the children are props to get past La Migra, but word is that it happens from time to time.

There is no nation known as the United States of America if there is no border control. And, clearly, the Biden administration has opened the borders for all practical purposes. 

I won’t even get into the questions of communicable disease, human trafficking, drug muling, terrorists walking across the border, or the allegation that it’s all a plot to tip the balance of the voting rolls toward the Democratic party. Nope. I just want everyone who would like to come here to go through some vetting and know who the hell it is. A surprisingly large number of these lovely Latino immigrants come from countries I cannot find on a map of this hemisphere. But they sure are coming from Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and a plethora of Arab states. Not to mention the wave of Haitians among them.

All are welcome, but only if they enter legally. That goes for beautiful Irish women who overstay their visas, Russian blondes who dropped the mail-order husband and vanished, and the tens of thousands of students who never studied but stayed anyway. Poof! All of them must go.

See, it isn’t about religion, skin color, where you are from, etc. It’s about who you are, and what you bring to the table. Cheap labor is not a reason to fling our sovereignty into the trash. Nor are potential voters. 

Wake up, my friends: this is a horrible situation, and until we can actually take care of our citizens, especially veterans, we should not be expanding the base of population with unskilled labor. (Nor, in my less than humble opinion, with technical experts on legal visas – train our own people first!)

Xenophobic? Nah. But I’ve never entered any country illegally and don’t plan on it. I expect the same from others.