Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dangerous Threads

Virginia is at it again. The title of Virginia's new book is DANGEROUS THREADS and it has lots of action, twists and adventure as usual. She and her husband Andy along with her friend Donna are in search of the 1933 Sears quilt contest winning quilt that was displayed at the Chicago Worlds Fair. It was later given to Mrs. Roosevelt and then it disappeared. That part is true, but in the story, it contains something of great value to the government and others who will stop at nothing to get their hands on it, including murder.
I finished the book and it is at the publisher for release in the fall of 2012. .

Monday, October 24, 2011


Traveling these days, especially by air can be trying. The airlines can be a royal pain but the real trouble can be the TAS guards. Notice I called them guards and not officers. They are NOT police officers! 

TSA personnel at airports and other places are like Mall security guards. They have as much arrest authority as Joe Public. They are government rent-a-cops.

TSA arrest authority derives from 49 USC 44903(d)(2):
[The] Secretary of Transportation may authorize an individual who carries out air transportation security duties– (2) to make arrests without warrant for an offense against the United States committed in the presence of the individual or for a felony under the laws of the United States, if the individual reasonably believes the individual to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony.

John Q Public can do this too, and John Q Public can also do it for state crimes where the TSA guard can not. 

With respect to searches and denial of transportation, Federal law at 49 USC 44902(a) allows an airline to refuse to transport:
(1) a passenger who does not consent to a search under section 44901(a) of this title establishing whether the passenger is carrying unlawfully a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance; or (2) property of a passenger who does not consent to a search of the property establishing whether the property unlawfully contains a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance.
In addition, 49 USC 44902(b) authorizes the denial of transportation to anyone or anything “inimical to safety”.
Nothing in either of these sections purports to grant any authority for search, to require consent for search, or to authorize denial of transportation, except on the basis of safety.  

To date, courts reviewing TSA actions have assumed that TSA searches were limited to searches for weapons, explosives, or other threats to aviation security.  Most recently, for example, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2007, en banc, that “the scope of such searches is not limitless. A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it ‘is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [ ] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.’” (USA v. Aukai, quoting US v. Davis, 9th Cir. 19

You do not have to comply with any TSA guards orders except as noted. 
They can also legally look at a government issued photo ID and your boarding pass to verify you are authorized to enter the secured area and that you are actually the person with the boarding pass. If you are not, they can prevent you from entering the secured area or getting on an airplane. That is reasonable.

Beyond that, they are limited to what they can do. The TSA thinks they can by executive order they can do more, but all they can LEGALLY do, if you have weapons, explosives, or other threats to aviation security is call the police and stop you from getting on an airplane. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Promoting Yorself at a Writing Conference

Promoting Yorself at a Writing Conference

Attending a conference is fun, but it's also expensive. There are travel costs, registration fees, food, lodging and time away from writing. So...the question is, "How do I maximize my presence? How do I promote myself and my book?"
Even if your book won't debut until a few months, there are things you can do. Still, it seems silly to "waste" this opportunity even though you don't have a book in hand. After all, you know that you make a note of books you want to read and you might not buy them for months! Surely other people have the same habits. And, remember, in advertising that it takes many exposures for people to form an impression. But those exposures can't be spaced too far apart. Waiting until your book hits the shelves means all those exposures would come AFTER the book is out. And those 6 weeks afterwards are critical because that's when sell-through happens. It makes sense to start now...if you can do it economically.

Here are all the promotional activities you can undertake for our visit to a book writing convention. You won't be able to tell right away which of these have been valuable.

1. Interviews-- Offered to interview the headliners for the conference. This will give you the chance to ask questions of the best and brightest. Plus, the interviews were shared in the newsletter, and you can now post them in the resource section of your website. The aim: To be on the radar screen of some of the nation's best authors. You never know whom you'll click with. Or who will bring you the next big opportunity.

2. Business cards-- I was once told to wait, but that's silly. How do you follow up a meeting without information? Have the cards printed with your book cover on the front. The ISBN is on everything. "It's like the Social Security number for your book." Should you get a tattoo? Nah.

3. Proposal for a presentation--Any unique ability in your background works for being a speaker. So, offer to do a presentation on speaking before groups. If you give a talk, chances are you will sell some books!

4. Appearances—Try to be fortunate enough to be assigned as moderator on one panel and participant on another. You have to ask early, so register early and make a pest of yourself! If you give a talk or make appearances, chances are you will sell some books!

5. Panel descriptions--How do people choose which panel to attend? Try to write your descriptions in such a way that they were full of promise...promise that you know you could deliver. You want to brand myself as offering tremendous value while having fun. But remember, you MUST deliver on the promise!

6. Handouts--This is a key. But the handouts can NOT be self-serving. Of course, on all the handouts, you share your details.

7. Recipe Cards and Homemade Cookies, candy--Hokey, Sure. But every time I've seen them offered, people snatch them up. On the front is a recipe, on the back is info about your book and the book cover is in color on the cards.

8. Pre-Order Contest—See if your publisher will agree to take pre-sales. The publisher keeps a list of all the pre-ordered books. From those, I'll draw one purchaser's name to be included as a character in book #2.

9. Bookmarks--Pretty standard stuff, except that you can customizing each one with a scrap booking embellishment. People oooohhhhed and aaaaahhhed over them.

10. Prizes--As a motivational speaker, you’d be pleasantly surprised by how excited audiences got when they won something. So have customize bags of M & Ms made up. The colors are the same as your book cover.

11. A small booklet or other genre specific item to ID you--I've also noticed that folks seem really astonished that I actually have skeletons. It reinforces my niche and brands me as a mystery writer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New items and comments

Hello out there,

First the news:
I had two operations within 6 weeks and almost died twice. Obviously news of my actual death was premature. I actually went on a cruise to Europe (Italy, Monaco and Greece). Doing well and in the process I lost 40 pounds. If anyone finds them--you can keep them.

My newest novel "The Trashy Gourmet" is scheduled for publication in June of 2012 and another book, a Virginia Davies novel, "Dangerous Threads" is coming out in the fall of 2012. This last one involves a quilt.

Now for the comments:
I know some of you may not agree with me and that's fine. That's what makes America great, we can all have and share our opinions freely.
My tirade today is about the governor of our state (TEXAS) and his bid to be the next President of the US. This guy (Mr. Perry) does NOT believe in global warming. I would agree with him if he said man was not the only contributor-that nature has a big part in it as well. BUT he said he doesn't buy global warming and that man has anything to do with it.
Next he asked for a got a law (overturned by a federal court) that made sonograms of fetuses be shown to women prior to an abortion. Whether you agree with abortion or not, this is cruel and just because he doesn't like it he has no right to hurt pregnant women.
Next he disagrees with science at the earth is over 4 billion years old. He's more inclined to believe untrained bible thumpers that it is only 4,000 to 6,000 years old.
He also disagrees with science about evolution and goes for the myth that the earth and man was made in 7 days.
This is a man who's running for President? He's sucking up to the Re[publican extreme right and evangelical christians and leaving the rest of the world out. He will NOT get my vote and I'll push for him NOT to get a lot of others. There are better candidates with business and government experience than him. A lot of Texans think he's operating on tortilla short of a taco. This is they guy who suggested Texas drop out of the Union, now he wants to be president?????

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Operation and positive side of things

I went into the hospital the end of May for a routine laposcopic gall bladder removal. It was to be about an hour operation and out of the hospital the next day. Well things went really wrong. The surgeon had to call in another doctor and they opened me up. The operation took over 5 hours and part of the bladder was burned in place because of where it had nested. It was seriously infected and when it was ready to burst (soon according to the surgeon) it would have killed me. Left the hospital a week later with 3 tubes sticking out of me. Two weeks ago the doc removed two and today-after a couple x-rays, the last one comes out. It wasn't what I signed up for but it beats the alternative. The first weeks out of the hospital were trying and I slept a lot. On the positive side I think it was a success--I'm alive, no gall stones and I lost 35 pounds and have managed to keep the weight off so far. I feel great (except for this tube which is coming out today).

I do not recommend this weight loss program.

I'm getting back to writing and getting out more now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Virginia Davies new book in work and another one to follow.

Virginia is at it again. Lots of action and adventure as usual. She and her husband Andy along with her friend Donna are in search of the 1933 Sears quilt contest quilt that was displayed tat the Chicago Worlds Fair. It was later given to Mrs. Roosevelt and then it disappeared. That part is true but in the story, it contains something of great value to the government and others.
I'm well along on it and will have it finished before too long.

After that I'm starting a new book.   Chemist Jack Parker, Ph.D., is the Coroner of San Diego County California.  He is also a reserve officer (Lt. Colonel) in the Army Medical Service Corp and has a background in Chemical and biological warfare from working for defense contractors and a stint at USAMRIID (US ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES).  One of his Medical Examiners hits the HOT ZONE lock down button while performing an autopsy.  Jack is called to the morgue. The body the M.E. was examining died of smallpox. Not regular smallpox, but an unusual and highly reactive strain of the disease. Dr. Jack looks at and realizes it is at a man made chimera.  The smallpox released from the inside the cells of an E-coli bacteria as the cells were killed by antibiotics and the dead man’s immune system. Who made it? Where did it come from? E-coli is common. But, smallpox was eradicated decades ago. He knows there are still strains of smallpox in labs in Russia and in the US. Did a lab lose a sample? Who has the smallpox virus and why?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New inforation

Gave my new Adam Thomas book to the publisher (L&L Dreamspell) a couple weeks ago. The title is The Trashy Gourmet. Had a lot of events this month and starting to plan some more for the rest of the summer. Will put them in the blog later.