Hello From Texas
With March 20 and the beginning of spring bearing down on us, I thought I had better get the Winter 2022 Newsletter out. How is it almost spring already? Where does the time go? It seems like Christmas was only weeks ago and now January and February are gone.
It’s been cold here in North Texas this winter, but at least we don’t typically get much of the kind of snow and ice that other parts of the country must deal with. Frankly, I’m not a winter person and am always glad to see the warmer temperatures arriving. And, it’s starting to look a little like spring. But the weather is always questionable here this time of year. After two very warm days at the end of last week, it’s cold and rainy out today as I write this.
Speaking of the weather, have you ever noticed how you hear nothing from the climate change alarmists in winter? They typically give it a rest when the weather is cold because that doesn’t support their global warming narrative. Then when the normal spring storm season starts and temperatures warm up they start up again with the hand wringing and doomsday predictions. I’m not a climate change denier and I do care about the environment. I just don’t accept the manufactured climate change “crisis” that elitists and activists like Al Gore push so that he and others can enrich themselves. The Earth’s climate has changed dramatically countless times throughout its estimated 4.5 billion years long history. And the climate continues to change. Climate change alarmists have been making apocalyptic climate change predictions for years. Here’s a small sample.
In 1989, the Associated Press relayed a warning from a U.N. official:
“A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.”
No nations have been “wiped off the face of the Earth” as of 2022.
Global cooling was once a worry to many. Top climate specialists and environmental activists predicted that “global cooling trends” observed between WWII and 1970 would result in a world “eleven degrees colder in the year 2000 – about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” Bitter winters and floods from “delayed typhoons” would trigger massive drops in food production, followed by widespread famine.
Yep, never happened.
I could offer hundreds of other dire climate change predictions from the past going back to the 1940s, but you get the point. In each case, claims of impending environmental disaster from climate change, backed by allegedly irrefutable scientific data never happened. Yet policymakers were encouraged to act before it was “too late.” Here is the truth. Environmental and climate change activists have an agenda. They want more government control of every facet of life, and generating widespread panic about the environment is a way to get more government control. Just look what’s happening in our country today. More government means less freedom and higher prices for everything we buy and need to sustain life. No matter where you stand on the environment and climate change you need to understand that the technology needed for a responsible transition from fossil fuels to greener forms of energy is at least 30-50 years away from development. Yet Biden and his administration of ideologues are pressing forward with that irrational agenda right now. God help us. While these clowns hold power, inflation is here to stay so we will all enjoy watching our retirement savings lose value and we will be paying more for basic necessities like gasoline, food, clothing, and utilities. Think about that when the November 2022 elections roll around. It’s time to radically change the make up of the U. S. Congress. Big governments become fascist governments. It’s inevitable.
Forgive me for the rant, and I’ll step off my soap box now and carry on.
In This Issue
I. Top 5 Crime Fiction Books from Current NYT Combined Print & E-Book List
II. Writing Update
III. What I’m Reading
IV. Steals and Deals
Top 5 Crime Fiction Books from NYT Combined Print & E-Books List
Here are the top five bestselling crime fiction books from the current New York Times Combined Print & E-Book List.
(1) The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley | Traditional Detective Mysteries
(2) Nothing to Lose by J.A. Nance | Hard-Boiled Mystery
(3) The Maid by Nita Prose | Traditional Detective Mysteries
(4) Carmel Pecan Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke | Cozy Mystery
(5) The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave | Suspense Thriller
I’ve had a productive 2022 thus far. After getting the ninth Malone novel, What’s Done is Done, out at the end of 2021, I put the finishing touches on Frisky Business, the fourth T.J. O’Sullivan book, and Dead End, the second novel in the Rick Bishop series. Both were published in February of this year. Then I turned my attention to Darker Angels, the third book in the Howard Drew police procedural series.
Right now I’m writing the next Rick Bishop installment, Trouble in Paradise, which is due out this summer, probably in June. But I took a short break from writing that book to outline the tenth Malone novel, Passage to Remorse. For a while I’ve planned to do more with the Bridgette Carpenter character, Malone’s “sort of” adopted daughter, who first appeared in Live Long Day. And I’m featuring Bridgette in this next Malone book. Now at age twenty and home in L.A. from college on summer break, Bridgette teams up with her “dad” on a case.
I’m feeling excited about this book. Not only because of featuring Bridgette, but because I’m experimenting with a new (to me) story structure, screenwriter Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” structure. It isn’t a formula, but a popular story structure template that subdivides the beginning, middle, and end of a story into 15 “beats” or plot points. Each of these beats has a specific purpose and serves a particular function within the over-arching, global story. And from what I learned during the outline process, I’m confident “Save the Cat” will strengthen my writing and improve my storytelling. I guess we will find out when Passage to Remorse publishes this fall.
What I'm Reading
Bye Bye Baby by Ace Atkins
The one thing I spend more time doing than writing is reading. I subscribe to Stephen King’s advice. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” But despite the time I devote to it, my “to be read” pile never seems to get any smaller because I keep adding more books to it. This time around, I have two books I’m recommending for crime fiction fans, one that I’ve already finished and the other which I’ve just started but am enjoying immensely.
I recently read Bye Bye Baby by Ace Atkins, the fiftieth novel in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. For those who may not know, Atkins took over writing the Spenser novels after Parker’s untimely death in 2010. I for one believe Ace Atkins has done a wonderful job with staying true to Parker’s iconic character. I think he has really channeled Robert B. Parker’s style and his Spenser books are almost indistinguishable from those Parker wrote himself. Bye Bye Baby is classic Spenser, and I really loved the book.
Sadly, shortly before the release of this novel, Ace Atkins announced that he is stepping down from writing the Spenser books to focus on his own writing projects. That’s understandable since Atkins was a bestselling author in his own right long before he took up the Spenser franchise. That leaves Spenser in limbo, and book number fifty may be the last.
I’ve never made it a secret that I forged my Malone character from the Spenser mold and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Nor should I be, since the great Robert B. Parker modeled Spenser on Raymond Chandler’s iconic private detective character, Philip Marlowe. So, while my writing ability is certainly not even close to the level of a Chandler, Parker, or Atkins, in my own way, I’m carrying on the Chandler and Parker traditions just as Parker carried on Chandler’s and Atkins’ carried on Parker’s. That’s why I try to write every Malone novel to best of my abilities.
Anyway, if you haven’t already, I recommend you give Bye Bye Baby a read.
To The Sea by Nikki Crutchley
The book I’ve just started reading is To The Sea by New Zealand crime writer Nikki Crutchley. Nikki is a fabulous writer and I’ve loved her writing since I first discovered her. Any book Crutchley writes is a must read for me, and I’ve read them all. Several years ago, after reading my first Jo Nesbo novel, I realized I was missing out on some great crime fiction novels by limiting myself to reading only American authors. Since then, I’ve vastly expanded my reading to authors from all over the world. Nikki Crutchley is one reason I’m so glad I did. Even though I’m only through the first few chapters, To The Sea is a book that deserves to be on your “to be read” list.
Carolina Garcia-Ramirez is a rising star in national politics, taking on the establishment with her progressive agenda. Facing her second election, she is not only fighting a tight primary with an old guard challenger but also contending with numerous death threats coming from hundreds of suspects. It’s up to Spenser, Hawk, and a surprise trusted ally to ensure the congresswoman is safe.
Iluka has been the only home that 18-year-old Ana has ever known. The beautiful wild pine plantation overlooking the Pacific Ocean where her grandfather builds furniture, her aunt runs an artists’ retreat and her uncle tends the land. But the place holds a violent secret and when a stranger arrives, Ana will need to make a choice: to protect everything – and everyone – she holds dear or tell the truth and destroy it all.
Steals and Deals
Last chance to get Rick Bishop #1, the series starter for under a buck. Offer good at all retailers. Deal goes away March 31, 2022.
Last chance for Kindle Unlimited subscribers to read T. J. O’Sullivan’s newest book FREE. Frisky Business leaves Kindle Unlimited at the end of the month.