FREE (& virtual) INDIE AUTHOR EVENT:


Do you like Humphrey Bogart movies?
How about Raymond Chandler mysteries?

Join us online for a conversation with William F. Crandell, award-winning author of Let’s Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl, Book 1 in The Jack Griffin Detective Series.

In this hard-boiled adventure we find a young senator Kennedy’s personal and political future at risk when he’s set up to take the fall for a ghastly murder. Working against time, bureaucratic red tape, his own personal demons, and individuals who want him out of the way, Detective Jack Griffin must identify the real killer, assuming he survives long enough.

William F. Crandell returned home from the Vietnam War with a taste for adventure, a skeptic’s eye, and a hundred thousand stories. Awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for his private detective novel, Let’s Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl, Crandell has published short stories, book reviews, scholarly articles, journalism, state and federal reports, political analyses, and congressional testimony that he presented in Washington hearings. An Ohio native, Crandell received all his degrees at Ohio State University, completing his doctorate in American History with a study of the interaction of McCarthyism and Republican politics. Bill is a former DC speech writer for Veteran’s Affairs.
Click below to register for the Zoom link:

TALK WITH BILL CRANDELL

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

When’s the last time you visited my page?

Check me out!

An even better question is, “When is the last time you updated your own page?”

Are you a published writer? You gotta link your page to your blog, and keep it updated. Go in every so often and change your photo, etc. I always find it strange when I meet a writer who looks nothing like his/her photo because the photo is so old. Get rid of your HS yearbook photo and update it. Listen, you may have a wrinkle or two you didn’t have before, but your true fans wanna see you. The real you. Sometimes, if you look at your page as if you don’t know you, it can give you a boost, seeing all you’ve done, or it can give you some juice, seeing, “I can do more!”

Update yourself. 🙂

DEAD PEOPLE SHOULD NOT VISIT

Do you know the words to the Pink Panther theme song by the great Henri Mancini?

The words are, “Dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt dead aunt dead aunt dead aunt dead auuuuunt de-eh-eh-ed aunt.” And so on.

At exactly 3:08 pm yesterday I heard my dead aunt say my name.

My dead aunt, when she was alive, had a habit, throughout her life, that I was not fond of. She was a practitioner, nay, even a master, of the pop-in.

She was my mother’s older sister, significantly older, so she seemed to feel she had the right to do certain things, one of which was to pop-in.

And, as my mother never kept her door locked, and never would have turned her sister away anyway, my aunt could always pop-in.

This usually meant that whatever was happening at home, from cooking dinner to eating dinner, from hanging laundry on the line, to playing a game as a family, to being about to leave to go to a movie, or to the beach for a week, whatever it was, it had to stop, immediately, and wait until my aunt decided the pop-in was over. And, frequently, my aunt showed up to complain about her very emotionally cruel husband, or just to be vague and ask all of us a lot of questions to try to make some conversation as she was bored, her husband was cruel, and her kids had gotten the hell out of there as soon as they could, so she was lonely, and alone. I knew it, and I loved her, but geez, she had bad timing. As an example, she refused to come to the baby shower my friends threw me for adopting Sophie; she didn’t cotton to the whole adopting from another race and country thing, but she didn’t mind showing up just when we were about to leave (I was home from CA and staying with my mom) and making us all an hour late. We were literally on the front step when she pulled up, and my mother, who had the only car at the time, turned around and marched back into the house and sat down, clutching her keys so that we knew we were not escaping without her. My aunt slowly lumbered out of her car, up the drive, and into the house, and I had to make everyone tea and get out cookies. My aunt spent the hour or so dropping little hints about the adoption not being a good idea, was generally unencouraging and moody, and, I think, handed me a 50 dollar bill before she sighed a long sigh and left. Boy, was it fun driving to that shower with my mother after that (as my mother always thought her sister knew best because she was older, and she had married very rich), because now my mother was also in opposition to the adoption plan, and anxious about being so very late to a shower where my father’s girlfriend was also going to be, and where they all had been kindly and awkwardly waiting for us for over an hour by the time we arrived. My other aunt, my mom’s best friend, showed up and was a lot of fun. Here’s to dearly departed Aunt Peg, who I enjoyed enough to almost be willing to see while she is dead.

I want to pause here and say that we all have a birth-family, and a childhood family, and they may or may not be the same family, but when you get your very own, grown-up family (GUF), that you put together out of your chosen combination of spouse, kids, friends, pets, etc., your GUF should come first, people.

OMGosh. Do I really need to write that?

Yes. I do.

“I’m so sorry; we’re just headed out the door. I will call you_______” when I’m not headed to the movies with my kids for the last showing of (movie) that if we don’t leave now we will miss. SERIOUSLY.

When my aunt popped in she would open the front door, stick in her head, and say, “Dianne?” emphasis on ANNE, with a slightly louder-than-usual, slightly aggrieved-sounding voice.

That is what I heard yesterday, just when I had finished my long to-do of household chores, and, very hungry, was going to make a sandwich. I heard what sounded like the front door swooshing (my front door, not the one in the house where my aunt used to visit my mom), and my name, said in the same way (I am, unhappily, named after my mother.), “Di-ANNE?”

The chills.

Lets face it, there are people I knew who are dead who I would love to see again for one last chat, except that, for all of them, universally, they’d be dead.

Dearly departed please don’t visit.

Dead people should stay dead and not visit.

No one has ever accused me of having a spiritual side. I do not believe in an afterlife, or a divine whatsit, or prayer, or past lives, or karma, or karma-chameleon, or zen, or chanting, or whatever. Nope. That dog don’t hunt in my worldview.

And so I knew that it was not my aunt yesterday, but just a trick of the milieu of house noises + hunger.

I do not believe my dead aunt was suddenly thinking of me, or that she died, years ago now, at exactly that moment, or that she wants to tell me she’s glad I got the child, or still recommends against getting the child, or that I should call my mother, or that she’s hanging out with my brother and he’s okay, or that the money she always meant to give me is hidden in the samovar, or whatever. And, in truth, for those who espouse such thoughts about their own lives, it sounds to me not unlike a tropical fruit that people have been known to slip on.

The sound I heard sounded like my aunt, but, of course (do I need to write “of course?”), it was not my aunt. But it did once again reaffirm for me that, no, no, no: dead people should not visit, and, in my view, it’s the thought of them being able to visit that makes horror so horrifying. And not because they’d be zombies or ghosts, but simply because they’d be back. And dead, and probably smell.

Dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead- I think Mancini must have felt the same way as me.

THANK A VETERAN, LIKE WILLIAM F. CRANDELL

It’s Veteran’s Day in the US of A, and there are lots of things you can do to thank a veteran, like picking up the tab at Starbucks, or saying, “Thank you for your service,” or many other things.

One thing you can do is to read a man’s book. That’s right; there is nothing you can do that will make a writer happier than reading something he, or she, wrote.

William Crandell, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War, happens to be a really talented writer in addition to being a veteran. He won the best short story nationally in 2019, in addition to his win in the state of Delaware.

Bill is releasing his first novel, one in a series of four starring hardboiled detective Jack Griffin, and he has already gotten a stellar review for it from Midwest Reviews.

Am I using a post about Veteran’s Day to hawk a man’s book? I am. It is no small thing to have served in a combat zone. 

And, therefore, why not? What better gift could you give Bill than to read his book? He served; we should care, and while we have limited time and what-have-you, this is one way people who like writers and creative writing can also add in appreciation for veterans. 

And, aside from that, this is really a very well-written book. It’s gonna grab you and transport you. And it’s fun; it has all that Humphrey-Bogart-patter you love in a good noir mystery.

So, you know, get a copy. Or give a copy. Today.

Thanks for your service, Bill.

DRAW YOURSELF

At UMES, where I teach creative writing, I am trying to get my students interested in participating in a play about body positivity by (hopefully) writing or performing an individual piece.

To do that, I modeled:

#1. Drawing a picture of yourself, and then labelling your features (that is me, above)

#2. Writing a paragraph explaining your labels.

#3. Cutting the paragraph up into verse.

Did it go well for them? I’m not sure. So far no one has spontaneously volunteered!

It did go well for me. I have a whole new poem that I will attempt, in the coming months, to publish. Boy, that publishing thing is a slow process. My sympathy to those who ask me to publish them, and have to wait for me. There’s just not enough hours in the day.

In any case….

If you were to draw yourself, how would you label yourself, and why?

Poem with me, won’t you?

PS: I was wearing a mask when I did this drawing, but I drew me without it because it was an important part of who I am to show that I am waaaay toooo happy, all the time. It’s weird. Masks aren’t. Take care of each other. xo

TOO HAPPY (Holland Taylor is the best!):

NOTES ON HALLOWEEN PARTY ’21

FULL DISLOSURE:
I published this book and wrote one of the stories in it & the introduction.
However, this book is notable, aside from my own motives for selling it, because it contains the last story that is ever going to be published by David W. Dutton, of One of the Madding Crowd fame.
David was my friend, and a wonderful writer, and has recently left us.
It also contains a short story by noted Goodreads reviewer, Jeffrey D. Keeten. Did you know Keeten could do fiction too? You did not!
Any Anne Rice fans? Then you may be interested to know that in this book is a story by Faye Perozich, noted for this work.
If you read comics, then you’ll be interested in the story by graphic novelist David Yurkovich (of Altercations and Less Than Heroes).
And if you follow horror magazine Samsara, then you will already be a fan of R. David Fulcher.
So, my own involvement aside, this book has a lot of plums hidden in it. I bet you’ll love it, and with it’s square shape and glossy cover, it makes a great gift for that brother-in-law who you never know what present he would like. Give him a cool horror book!

POEM WITH ME

Whenever possible I have a little fun with my creative writing classes with Magnetic Poetry.

This semester, while cleaning up from our play-day, I found some nice word combos, and isn’t that the point of Magnetic Poetry?

So, c’mon, poem with me…

Comment with your creation!

No, you don’t have to use them in that order…. 😉

NOTES ON HALLOWEEN PARTY ’21

FULL DISLOSURE:
I published this book and wrote one of the stories in it & the introduction.
However, this book is notable, aside from my own motives for selling it, because it contains the last story that is ever going to be published by David W. Dutton, of One of the Madding Crowd fame.
David was my friend, and a wonderful writer, and has recently left us.
It also contains a short story by noted Goodreads reviewer, Jeffrey D. Keeten. Did you know Keeten could do fiction too? You did not!
Any Anne Rice fans? Then you may be interested to know that in this book is a story by Faye Perozich, noted for this work.
If you read comics, then you’ll be interested in the story by graphic novelist David Yurkovich (of Altercations and Less Than Heroes).
And if you follow horror magazine Samsara, then you will already be a fan of R. David Fulcher.
So, my own involvement aside, this book has a lot of plums hidden in it. I bet you’ll love it, and with it’s square shape and glossy cover, it makes a great gift for that brother-in-law who you never know what present he would like. Give him a cool horror book!

“Is it Work If You Do it From Home?”

Wow. I hope Nadja doesn’t mind me pointing you to her blog.

This post is just so on point.

I absolutely get her, as I sit here stealing a few minutes to write while Sophie is in an Outschool class.

Man, I wasn’t making it through the last year of homeschooling without Outschool.

And I was just thinking, yesterday, on a walk with the dog (who, since the pandemic, demands several each day, but, hey, how freaking boring is being a dog? I get it, my handsome Oliver.), how there were about 3 times over the last year where I had a “come to Jesus” meeting with my husband and daughter over homeschooling. Sure, Sophie loved practicing her instruments, taking art classes on Outschool, or doing science experiments with Dad. But math or grammar with Mom? Ho, oh, oh, no. “It’s not fair!” I whined. Yet, looking back on it on the walk yesterday, I think that, all-in-all, we did okay.

There’s something about motherhood though; a lot is expected of motherhood, and little is given in terms of respect for it. It’s like “Do the best freaking job at this of anyone, anywhere! And we’ll tell you how much more important what we’re doing is, and, if you screw up even an iota, we’ll tell you that too.” *sigh*

On the other hand, I feel like I am generally doing okay at raising a really nice kid who is truly dedicated to music and art, and can and will practice both independently. As, when I was a child, I wouldn’t practice anything independently (besides hiding well and reading), I think I’m doing a better job than my own, always angry, mother. It’s funny to call it a job, though, isn’t it? It both is, and isn’t, a job.

And I love every minute of being with my daughter, and I also want some minutes without her.

In any case, Nadja did a wonderful piece that I think will truly resonate with you, and her other writing ain’t bad either, as you can see in this piece.