Thursday, September 18, 2014
(A GUILTY LOOK IF I EVER SAW ONE!)
Hoot awoke at 4:00 AM just as he had every other morning of his life for as long as he could remember, always reasoning to himself that it was 4:00 AM somewhere in the world twenty-four times a day and the best he could do was get his own personal ass out of bed on time to take care of his own shift; let others worry about the rest. This morning he woke up to discover he was lying next to Jesse in what he presumed was her bed at the resort. He had only the dimmest memory of tumbling into a bed that he couldn’t even be certain was this same bed, Jesse all over him, and he all over her. Never a good thing, waking-up in a place you don’t recognize, he told himself as if needing a cryptic reminder of the obvious.
It was warm, and a ceiling fan was stirring a breath of air. He reached above his aching head to move aside a heavy window curtain and peek outside. Dawn had yet to break, but the horizon was starting to take on a hint of color, the sky above clear and starry, the nearly-full moon hung low in the west like a beacon reflecting off wave tops. He remembered it was around 2:00 AM when he met Jesse at the clubhouse last night, so wherever he was, he figured he either hadn’t been here very long or entirely too damned long. Probably both.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Clack-clack, clack-clack…clack-clack – clack-clack, clack-clack…the thirty-car Rayonier logging train snaked its way downhill from the sizing and grading yard at Black Pass to the sorting and holding yard in Hoquiam, its steel wheels seeming to tap coded messages as they rolled over joints in the track, the rails telling tales of great trees from long ago, survivors of fires, floods, and pestilence eons before man and axe ever saw these woods, felled and hauled away in a mere blip of earthtime; this particular tale was being tapped-out on a warm and humid evening in the summer of 1995:
Twilight had set, full dark was coming, and Jesse Vega’s three-girl gang was riding the logs, a strictly-forbidden favorite pastime of theirs. Fourteen-year-old Christine was sitting up on top of the load and holding on to a log’s loose bark for dear life. Bolder and braver Jesse with tagalong Billiejean, both fifteen-years-old, were down lower on one of the lengthier logs that extended well past the cradles – they rode like perched ravens, cantilevered out over the couplers between the cars where the longest log almost touched logs protruding from the cars ahead and behind, the space between them a treacherous place constantly flexing wider and then narrower as curves were negotiated by the train, rough stobs swiping past each other with the promise of Poe’s pendulum.
“What do you think the rails are saying?” Billiejean Wisdom asked Jesse, practically yelling her head off just to be heard.
“They’re saying if this train doesn’t get across the skinny and rickety
trestle before full-on
dark somebody’s gonna go pee-pee in her panties.” Queets
“I’m not scared!” Billiejean protested.
“Oh yes you are. No fibbing allowed.”
Jesse stood up and turned loose with her hands. Balancing atop the cantilevered end of a sizeable log, she looked up at her white-knuckled sister sitting on top of the load. Filled with wicked glee, she glanced back at the last few cars following them around a bend, and then, with a little hop, she turned and looked ahead as they rounded another wide curve, seeing the train stretching out ahead and behind, the entire quarter-mile-long rail-car ribbon of logs that had been living trees only a week or two ago. Mimicking a soaring raptor staking her claim to the forest, she extended her arms out to her sides like wings with fingers at their tips instead of feathers. The wind in her face dusty and smelling of cedar and tamarack, she screamed like a screeching red-tailed hawk, her spirit guide according to
Billiejean’s grandmother, “Skeee! Skeee!”
Billiejean’s grandmother, “Skeee! Skeee!”
“Cut it out, Jesse!” Billiejean cried. “You’ll fall!”
“Not me! Watch this!”
Without further warning Jesse took two quick steps and leaped across the treacherous space between cars onto the rough stob of the longest log protruding from the car ahead, waving her arms to catch her balance as she landed.
Billiejean screamed, “Jesseeeee!” at the top of her lungs while the rails kept on tapping out their code, repeating clack-clack, clack-clack – clack-clack, clack-clack.
“Hey! What’s going on?” Christine demanded, raising her head up, long blonde hair blowing all directions at once in a zillion tangles, her eyes squeezed shut.
“Jesse jumped! She jumped ahead!” Billiejean yelled hysterically, pointing and tattling on her friend. “She could’ve fallen!”
“I’m not gonna fall, you big chickenshits!” Jesse hollered back to her so-called posse. Then she leaped across the open space again, returning to where she had been, Billiejean grabbing and hugging her furiously while beating her fists against her back.
Christine peeked out from under a hand over her eyes, yelled, “Stop showing off, Jesse!” with all the overdone petulance she could muster considering the chaotic circumstances, and Jesse laughed, plopping down to sit atop the log while Billiejean wailed “Not funny!” giving Jesse’s shoulder a hefty girl-gang punch for good measure and sitting down beside her with her brows knitted into half-hitches.
Jesse had often wondered since that day how differently things would’ve turned out if Billiejean had just stayed put and pouted. But the path never is a straight one, and even the best of minions will sometimes wander…
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
New Tacoma Narrows Bridge Under Construction
(One of the Last Big Jobs)
Those aluminum-and-steel concrete forms peeking up over the knoll in the foreground were provided by me in one of my former roles as a sales rep for a large formwork vendor. It was one of Beamwalker's last big jobs in construction. But certainly not the last big job! - I've been busy finishing and editing Skyshooter for release in April, and that is a far greater challenge!
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Announcing; Troubleshooter has advanced to the quarter-final round in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.
Troubleshooter made the quarter-final cut from a field limited to 10,000 total entries to be one of 100 competing in Mystery and Suspense based on reviews of the novel's opening and a quick pitch. The semi-final phase of competition is based on reviews of the full manuscript - Go Hoot!
From one of Troubleshooter's ABNA quarter-final reviews:
Amazon Expert Reviewer. What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?
This is a very descriptive, very character driven excerpt. The details are rich, putting the reader right there "deep into the rainy backside of hell" with Deputy Hooten. Deputy Hooten is a likeable character, flawed but very real. He is a good protagonist and he quickly earned both my sympathy and my support. He is definitely the strongest aspect of this excerpt.
What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?
Overall, I really liked this excerpt. I absolutely *love* the plot of this book. I enjoy books that allow me to get inside the characters' heads and browse around, and this excerpt has done just that. The author has allowed me into Hoot's head (as well as
's head, although I
didn't get to read quite enough of his situation yet...) and let me wander
around. I had fun being there, reading their thoughts and seeing what makes
them tick. This is a well written excerpt and I believe I would enjoy this
Thank you to Amazon for this opportunity!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Jumping for joy...Kirkus reviewed Troubleshooter and called it Potent!
A U.S. marshal’s 30-year search for a fellow Vietnam veteran who killed the love of his life may be nearing its conclusion in the author’s debut thriller.
Ezra “Hoot” Hooten’s transfer to Spokane, Wash., has nothing to do with a desire for a change of scenery and everything to do with the possibility of finding Norman Carpenter there. Norman, Hoot’s childhood friend, married Donna, the girl Hoot left behind before joining the Army. Norman was convicted of Donna’s murder and escaped custody years ago, but a chance encounter with unhappy wife and mother Angela, the spitting image of Donna, might finally help Hoot catch up to Norman and end the hunt that has long dominated the marshal’s life. Lindsey’s potent novel is dark, opening with Hoot under fire, his partner dead (the third in five years) and a nearby officer bleeding to death. Hoot is a curious but deeply flawed protagonist who blames himself as much as Norman for Donna’s death and becomes obsessed with the search for his former pal, which ultimately ruins his relationships with his ex-wife, Linda, and their children. The other characters have their own defects: Norman is a hit man who thinks beating up punks for hire is beneath him, and even Angela isn’t very likable, expressing no remorse over having left her kids just a couple of weeks before Christmas. Some readers may not appreciate the novel’s portrayal of women, who are typically depicted in physical terms, especially since Angela and her new lover, Liz, work as strippers (at a club where the three leads’ paths all converge). Hoot doesn’t even respect FBI agent Patricia Peyton, insinuating that affirmative action is the sole reason she has a job. But the men fare no better, in particular Norman, who seems to get progressively crazier in his desire to kill Angela, whom he eventually takes to calling Donna or, more to the point, “the woman…wearing Donna’s skin.” Flashbacks appear at random intervals in Hoot’s and Norman’s lives, usually involving their teen years and their stints in Vietnam, aptly revealing the love triangle (of sorts) with the two boys and Donna, as well as Norman’s descent into what some would consider madness.
Heavy in its despondence and bleakness but a story that readers are unlikely to forget.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
A Christmas Recollection
Christmas has come and gone once more and the Christmas gene remains strong in me – I’m talking about more than my close resemblance to Santa Claus here; I’m talking about traditions. The way they can grab people and then carry on with a life of their own. Powerful stuff, traditions are, and we create them left and right with hardly a second thought. They become part of us so quickly and so thoroughly – the slightest special detail in the most ordinary routine can tweak our DNA and…voila! Next thing you know we’re passing special details and routines on to the next generation for generations to come. I talked to my daughter, on Christmas, and she told me that she had resurrected the dollhouse I made for her when she was a girl about the same age my granddaughter is now. She told how a ‘last gift’ was discovered under the tree – an item of dollhouse furniture. How unwrapping this gift led to a treasure hunt of clues culminating in a trek to the downstairs family room where the resurrected dollhouse awaited her decorating and playtime flair. Hearing about this treasure hunt brought tears of joy to my eyes as I remembered Amber scrambling for exactly the same sorts of clues thirty-five years ago…tradition in action. Then the tears turned to laughter as she related how my granddaughter had enticed her father to play with the dollhouse with her, how my granddaughter’s miniature Barbie princess collection had immediately moved into the dollhouse, how her father had pretended that his Barbie princess needed to go to the potty in the worst way, and how pretty soon all the Barbies had to go. My daughter said that she discovered my granddaughter near hysterics playing with her father because the Barbies had plugged up the dollhouse toilet. This holiday anecdote was immediately precious to me; perhaps because I was a dirt-poor artist/construction worker simply struggling make Christmas special for my kids, and somehow managed to create the seed of a tradition in the process when I first built the dollhouse. I’m pleased it turned out to be something lasting and worthy of being passed down to another generation. Now I’m a dirt-poor author, still struggling to make Christmas special for my loved ones and delighting in finding evidence of traditions that I’ve helped create along the way. Handmade ornaments. Homemade cookies. Precious gifts that can’t be bought. It’s all good. It’s all Christmas…and I’m already looking forward to the next one.