Episode 5 of the Accidental Author

Click above for the latest episode of the Accidental Author and hear me discuss the following • Backstory to the Bill Hiccock “Thrillogy” • Passion-the essential element to being a good writer • Perfection – the enemy of good.

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Episode 1 click here
Episode 2 click here
Episode 3 click here

Episode 4 click here

Dude, Where’s my car?

imageBy now, I thought I’d be on my fifth Aston-Martin with the other four, starting with the DB-5, in my temperature controlled garage. I fell in love with that car when I sat in the Allerton Avenue movie theater in the Bronx and watched James Bond being cool above cool, ejecting bad guys out of the passenger seat.

Bond: “Ejector seat? You’re Joking!”

Q: “I never joke about my work, double oh seven.”

Well, apparently it was I who was joking. No Aston-Martins, yet. However, I did get to write books about other cool guys. Heroes, who are guided by an internal navigation, to do the right thing. Unlike Ian Fleming’s masterwork, Commander James Bond, my protagonists tend to be unwilling do-gooders. Usually thinking about something else when circumstances create the need for heroics or for good men and women to do something extraordinary.

It was a relatively short walk for Fleming to capture the essence of the confident hero, having gone through World War II as a British Naval Intelligence officer. If you know the Bond series, then you can see how much of it was based on his experiences, observations, and folklore of the very spy game of which he was a part.*

This weekend we honor other reluctant heroes. Those who gave their lives in service to America. Sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, fathers and moms, who answered the call to defend America. They did so with courage, bravery, and unselfishness. We should all take a moment this Memorial Day weekend and say thank you to those who gave up the balance of their lives so that ours may continue in peace, freedom, and prosperity. Even if it’s only a little gesture, like before you take a sip of beer or coke or a soy latte, just give a little toast, even silently, to those who gave all, for all of us; from Lexington and Concord, to The Trenches, to Iwo Jima, to The Arden Forrest, to DaNang, to Fallujah and right up to yesterday.

Here’s mine: To all of America’s brave war dead, thank you for giving up what I couldn’t ever imagine, willingly risking; every tomorrow, every human experience yet to be had and every love, relationship and offspring you never got to experience. All the good times you missed and the laughs, satisfactions and good cries that could have been. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid but also never forgotten. Here’s to you and God Bless America.

*One last note on Fleming, I was lucky that the DB5 was set up as my dream car because Ian also wrote, and I could have locked in on, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Smile… You’re Busted!

In the Hammer of God, a critical clue in the murder of a leading scientist is provided by a close examination of a street camera video.  Even two years ago the editorial discussion was, “Is that two convenient?” I mean a video camera just happened to catch the moment? Is anyone going to believe that?

Well welcome to “It’s Only Fiction ‘Til It Happens!” Love it or hate it, today, there are more cameras everywhere than ever before.  Miniaturization, Wi-fi and Blue Tooth pretty much brings available retail technology into the realm of ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘James Bond’.  You can literally just place a camera with a sticky back anywhere and remotely view, record or analyze it, over the Internet!  Radio Shack availability of what, 30 years ago, was top-secret spy craft; devices that would have entirely changed the Cold War.  This week the Israelis were accused of using camera-toting Vultures to spy on Syria!

There was an execution style killing in broad daylight on Broadway in New York.  A very similar “broad daylight” circumstance to the murder in Hammer of God.  And here again, the police have multiple videos to help them solve the case.

So in this case “Big Brother” watching is a good thing.  The question is, how much, how far, how invasive could it, should it go?  That is a question for society and ethicist to wrangle with.

For a writer, it’s a godsend.  Imagine the possibilities.  Surveillance cameras, ATM camera’s, red light cams, bus cams, train station cams, street cams, border drones, traffic drones, police drones, every smart phone, and tourist camera.  All to be used as foils, blinds, misdirection or proof in modern storylines.

Or maybe not so modern, in one of my screenplays, Smile… You’re Dead!, during an autopsy a New York coroner quotes from an British novel published in the 1800’s,

“The click of the camera-shutter would lead to the snap of the hangman’s trap – was how I believe it was stated in the novel Jack the Ripper.”

Lets hope that in the case of yesterday’s cold, deliberate, lunchtime execution “the flicker of the video camera leads to the snap of the electric chair’s switch!”

BS (BlogScript): It won’t because in New York State it could only lead to life without the possibility of parole. But I think it’s a snappier quote with the ‘electric chair’ –